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2 Storey, 2006 sq ft, vaulted family room, $504,900 (house/lot/gst) also includes additional bonus $15k in Interior Finish Upgrades

Only 4 opportunities available (lots) for these homes * some details may vary, visit showhome for further details

Bungalow, 1324 sq ft, includes grand entrance $471,500 (house/lot/gst) also includes additional bonus $15k in Interior Finish Upgrades

WINTER 2015/16





Meet one of



Who is the

Soul Airdrie?

CHBA - Cal

gary Region




among us

Our pages are filled with Airdrie’s everyday heroes!

20 YEARS and glowing strong


They dared to BE


2015 Airdrie Business Award Winners







(403) 474-8953

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A Reflection of You.

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Presentation Centre Address: 109 Hillcrest Drive SW, Airdrie Hours: Mon - Thurs: 2:00 - 8:00 pm | Sat, Sun & Hol: Noon - 5:00 pm

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RON 403-536-2310


Yankee Valley Blvd


m 1360 - 1560 sq. ft.

winter 2015/16


A PARK IS A PLACE EVERYBODY CAN CALL HOME. Beyond great houses, innovative layouts and friendly streetscapes, one of the more important things Mattamy Homes aims to build is a sense of community. This is why building great playgrounds and open spaces is always near the top of our to-do list. The newly completed Osborne Park is one of those special places that defines Mattamy’s dedication to our communities. With features that allow its use year-round – like a toboggan hill and a puddle rink – Osborne Park was designed to draw the community together.

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907 Windsong Drive Airdrie, Alberta 403-980-8765


We named this place as a tribute to the Osborne family, the original residents of the land upon which Southwinds was built. Pillars of the early Airdrie community, the Osborne’s exemplified a spirit of generosity and a respect for local history that still influences the region today. Come visit us at Osborne Park in Southwinds. We hope that you’ll take a moment to learn about the area’s rich past and experience what the community stands for today.




FOLLOW US: SALES CENTRE HOURS: Monday - Thursday 1pm-8pm; Friday 1pm-6 pm; Saturday, Sunday and Holidays 11am-6pm Prices, specifications, promotions, terms and conditions subject to change without notice.

“ I go to my dentist for checkups. But I went to my orthodontist for my best smile.

An orthodontist specializes in the art and science of dental alignment and smile enhancement.

Airdrie’s only full-time certified orthodontist

Dr. Mo Korayem DMD, MSc, FRCD(C)

Certified Specialist in Orthodontics


editor’s note

uring the two decades i have been in Airdrie, i have continually run across people who have made such a difference in their community and beyond. Some have been publicly recognized; some have worked behind

the scenes. Some have been donating/volunteering/helping wherever help is needed for decades; some are taking the first steps on the path of altruism. Some travel halfway around the world to bring light to dark places; some offer support to the senior next door. Whenever the day’s news seems overwhelmingly bad, i remember these people and their selfless quest for the well-being of others. Their stories rarely make headlines, yet their efforts continue on a daily basis. They aren’t often in the limelight, yet what they do can be life-changing, both at home and internationally. our winter issue of airdrielife is dedicated to these heroes in the community. Most of them don’t see themselves as such, but the rest of us do. We know and appreciate the value of their efforts. They don’t think twice about lending a hand, doing what is necessary, and they make our own lives better as a result. We aren’t able to include all of Airdrie’s community heroes in this issue – they are simply too numerous to count – but we can tell the story of some of those special people. And if you want to get to know more of the people who make a difference, they aren’t too hard to find: just walk out your front door!

Anne Beaty, EDITOR

winter 2015/16

| airdrielife.com


22 on the Cover

Christian Hudson makes an impact. PHOTO BY KRISTY REIMER


coluMnS & regular featureS 28 events 42 parentlife with vanessa peterelli 44 reallife with rob Jamieson 54 homelife with kris & andrea Sales 58 lifestyles with kim purvis 64 Businesslife with kent rupert 87 lifetimes with ellen kelly

Slice of life 20

Expressionism – Couple shares artistic passion


in harmony – musician gives back


high society – restaurateur pursues dream


leading lights – festival celebrates 20 years


taking a bow – theatre company kicks off


Complementary – makeover offers style for all occasions

hoMe life

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winter 2015/16


Custom fit – harder homes creates


visionary – shopping centre completes neighbourhood


peaceful and welcoming – Williamstown revisited


grand display – showhomes impress



Sherry Shaw-Froggatt Anne Beaty vanessa Peterelli kim Williams Seline Badel-Wong, Anne Beaty, Sergei Belski, Olivia Condon, Alex Frazer-Harrison, Rob Jamieson, Ellen kelly, kurtis kristianson, Jeff Mackinnon, Carl Patzel, vanessa Peterelli, kim Purvis, kristy Reimer, kent Rupert, Andrea & kris Sales, Sherry Shaw-Froggatt Sherry Shaw-Froggatt, Sharie Tanner


Mitchell Press


Sharie Tanner



work life 66

put to the test – local company thrives


philanthropists – businesses invest in community


Emergency! – Who you gonna call?


Winning Edge – awards honour best of the best

Editorial Advertising

anne@frogmediainc.ca sherry@frogmediainc.ca shariet@frogmediainc.ca


airdrielife is delivered to all homes in Airdrie and surrounding areas. If you do not receive an issue please contact sherry@frogmediainc.ca airdrielife is also available at more than 100 locations around the city. you can also find airdrielife in every showhome in the city and at more than 100 locations in Calgary. airdrielife is published quarterly by Frog Media Inc. with the co-operation of the City of Airdrie Economic Development Department.

local life

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winter 2015/16


Citylife – on the move



asian influences – airdrians share culture


on a roll – bmx club stays strong


Just for you – meals on Wheels

Contents copyright 2015 by Frog Media Inc. May not be reproduced without permission. The publisher does not assume any responsibility for the contents of any advertisement, and all representations of warranties made in such advertising are those of the advertiser and not of the publisher.


breaking the ice – Elite curler earns kudos


standing strong – anti-bully message continues


lifesaver – medic shares positive philosophy


Well done – volunteers are recognized


above and beyond – Community members give back

ISSN 1916-355X


airdrielife editorial is not for sale. Editorial is completely independent from advertising, and no special editorial consideration or commitment of any kind can form any part of the advertising agreement. All editorial inquiries must be directed toward the editor. A copy of Frog Media Inc. Writers’ Guidelines can be downloaded from the editorial page on our website. airdrielife does not accept unsolicited submissions. Freelance writers and photographers interested in assignments are asked to send an inquiry, with samples from at least three published magazine articles, to editorial@airdrielife.com

From our family to yours... We hope you enjoy the McArthur Fine Furniture Experience!

McArthur Fine Furniture and Interior Design 141 Dr.| NE Airdrie, AB 403.960.1030 16 Gateway airdrielife.com winter 2015/16


winter 2015/16

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slice of life

W h at t o s e e , d o , e at, l i s t e n t o a n d m o r e

26 Food for thought • 32 Lighten up • 36 Stage-struck

Slice of life artistS profile Wayne and Sharon Shuttleworth express their creativity in different but complementary ways.

She paints, he shoots ‌ together they make art story by Ellen Kelly | photo by Kristy Reimer

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ongtime Airdrie area residents Sharon and Wayne Shuttleworth share a passion for both art and a healthy lifestyle. Sharon is an artist working in acrylics while Wayne, an agriculture officer for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, is a photographer“just for fun,” but their interests are complementary and both have an eye for colour, shape and form that serves them well in their respective artistic pursuits. Sharon’s earlier creative interests involved cross-stitch. “I was fascinated with the shading,” she says. Then, several years ago, her daughter took art lessons with Jane Romanishko at her art school in Airdrie, and because the Shuttleworths lived out of town, Sharon signed up for lessons, too. She tried watercolours and oils and learned she wasn’t very good at drawing, but she still loved art. Then a friend suggested lessons with Airdrie artist Wes Jones, and Sharon discovered acrylics.

For the painter – who says that her biggest challenge is to be able to confidently promote her work – her art is“an escape and a destination all in one. I can paint for hours without noticing how time is passing by,” she says.“I am working at becoming faster and freer in my style – I’m trying to become adept at ‘realistic impressionism.’” Also possessing an artistic eye, Wayne has always appreciated good photography. “One of my favourite places to go was the International Photo Competition at the Calgary Stampede,” he says. “I’ve always liked photography but never really thought I could pursue it.” Then he got his first camera as a graduation gift and used it for many years with the various lenses he accumulated. Wayne has taken courses online, at SAIT and at ACAD and now shoots with a DSLR, uses various filters and enjoys taking extreme closeups with his macro lens. “I like cropping really tight so you really have to think about what you are seeing,” he says.

“(Art is) an escape and a destination all in one. I can paint for hours without noticing how time is passing by.” “I love acrylics. If you make a mistake, you just paint over it,” says Sharon, who is currently in her sixth year of study with Jones. Her first piece took her more than a year to finish. It was an ambitious 16-by-20-inch piece.“It was cool because it worked out,” Sharon says. She started giving away her art as gifts and kept the odd piece but began to run out of wall space, so last year she decided to start selling her work. When she got a commission for an original painting, she thought, “Jeepers, maybe I can do this.” In April 2015 she began to focus full time on art as a business.“It’s difficult. There’s a real step to letting go,” she says of selling her paintings.“It’s a part of you.” Sharon enjoys painting anything western, especially horses, and says that the eyes are the soul of the paintings. “If they aren’t done right, the rest of the painting won’t come together,” she says. She paints from photo reference, usually pictures she and Wayne have taken. Often her paintings are composed of elements gleaned from more than one photograph. Her work, Arie’s Eye, will be on the June 2016 Airdrie Transit pass. Another proud accomplishment is having a tiny 3.5-by-5-inch painting accepted to tour with the Imago Mundi Western Canadian Contemporary Artists collection and afterward be on permanent exhibition in Italy. Her inspiration comes mainly from her farm background and love of animals, but she also enjoys the challenge of doing custom works because the subject is a surprise and usually something she wouldn’t normally paint. Sharon is a member of ARTS, and mentors include Delree Dumont, Jean Sackett and her instructor, Jones, whose sound advice – “Don’t undersell yourself ” and“There’s purple in every painting” – has inspired her. Her goals are to have her work accepted into the Calgary Stampede’s Art Auction and to paint larger pictures (she is currently contemplating a 40-by-60-inch canvas).

The photographer enjoys playing with the settings and dials and likes experimenting with night shots and winter shots “when it’s super cold and the snow has all those crystal formations in it.” His goal is to “see something that is fleeting, something that won’t happen again, and capture it so it becomes a lasting thing.” Several years ago, with a daughter in 4-H doing a photography project, Wayne saw the need for multi-clubs to have a more inclusive presence at 4-H on Parade and was instrumental in securing a proper judge and prizes for them. Currently, the art show and silent auction that grew out of multi-club displays draws an enthusiastic crowd of viewers and buyers. And, after 29 years of volunteering with the Calgary Stampede – the last eight or nine with the Western Showcase which promotes western values and lifestyle and is one of the major destination areas of the Stampede – Wayne has recently moved on to spend time on his own photography and build custom flat and floating frames for Sharon’s paintings. Both Sharon and Wayne have a keen interest in health and fitness as a way to stay active despite serious health concerns and they go to the gym six days a week. Wayne recently completed his third 10-kilometre run and Sharon her first five-km run. Both have participated in a Spartan race in Arizona and plan to do another in February. Sharon’s favourite Spartan quote is:“The miracle isn’t that I finished, it’s that I had the courage to start,” which she feels applies to her art endeavours as well as her fitness goals. Wayne, who sees keeping fit as a way to keep from being held back, has a favourite Spartan quote, too – “Do today what others won’t so tomorrow you can do what others can’t.” life

– To view Sharon’s paintings and Wayne’s photographs, visit caffeinendiesel.com winter 2015/16

| airdrielife.com



enerating a combination of boyish, Hollywood good looks, a humility beyond his years and a penchant for smooth, melodic delivery, Christian Hudson has taken the central Alberta music scene by storm in 2015. With his mini Martin guitar and handful of cover and original songs, the Airdrie balladeer played winning notes at the mid-summer Calgary Stampede Talent Show. An empathetic musician who has endured a few homeless nights himself, it didn’t take much thought for Hudson to donate the $10,000 prize to those less fortunate. Raised in a Mormon home, Hudson embraces a personal philosophy of caring and charity. “Spending the night on the street conceived the fantasy of donating the money,” says Hudson, who gave his winnings to the Calgary Drop-In Centre. Playing local venues and charity events, Hudson – who in September was named the winner of Airdrie’s fourth annual SLAM (Supporting Local Area Musicians) on Air finale – has set his sights on a full-time musical career, with the intention of maintaining a bearing on making the world a better place to live. “I always want to ensure that I maintain a relevance to the world, contributing in a way that offers progression for communities,” he says. “However, my favourite statement, one that has led to many stupid, reckless and wonderful experiences, has been,‘When presented a crossroads, take the path that offers the better story.’ “I never invested too much hope in the idea of winning, simply to avoid disappointment, but I did enjoy playing with hypothetical situations in my head. I’d have countless daydreams about the possible stories I could have from success,” adds the 19-year-old minstrel. Through both competitions Hudson flowed down the river of success using an amalgamation of hip hop and Motown tunes, including Thriller, Superstition and Chet Faker’s No Diggity, as well as his original composition The Bus Song. “I like to take classic songs, deliver a revival and go into the unorthodox and pick songs you wouldn’t expect a 19-year-old male to be singing,” he says. “By choosing the weird stuff that isn’t predictable, that’s what keeps audiences engaged.” A hit with Stampede competition judges and audiences, Hudson delivered a personal favourite in Nina Simone’s Be My Husband without any gender-bender lyric changes.

story and photo by Carl Patzel

Guitar Hero

Slice of life Musician profile

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“I’ve heard some versions performed by guys where they would switch the lyrics up, changing the pronoun to [make] more sense,” he says. “But I decided by keeping it the way it was initially it would catch people’s ear more – it might weird them out but at least it would hold their attention.” The young bard recognized early in life the ‘cool’ of playing guitar. He spent months begging for a sixstring solution, waiting through several birthday and Christmas dates before finding the coveted instrument under the tree. “When I was 14 years old I found a little guitar under the tree. I locked myself in my bedroom and didn’t come out for days,” he says. “I think because I was deprived for a little while that’s what made the music stick.” A fad among his middle-school classmates, Hudson continued to strum the six-string, striking a chord and eventually finding his own sound. Now influenced by singer/songwriters Damien Rice, Jack Johnson, John Mayer and latest chart-topper Ed Sheeran, the local talent has been cutting his musical teeth at live venues for close to a year. If Hudson isn’t playing at local pub Bambino’s, he can be found at several venues offering stage time to new talent, including a few favourite Calgary locations such as Cafe Koi, the Atlantic Trap and Gill and Bonasera. “When I do any show I like to keep the ratio about 60-40 (per cent) in favour of the covers because people always like to listen to things they can be familiar with. At the same time you have to introduce your own,” he says. Apart from cash, winning the local SLAM competition offers up two days of studio recording time. Hudson, who personally books his own shows, is looking forward to this opportunity and maintaining a full performance schedule. “Recording time is something I would really, really want to capitalize on. That’s my biggest downfall at the moment,” Hudson says, “that I’m having a ton of fun playing live but I don’t really have anything on the Internet or anything that I can distribute and market. That’s the next priority.” Ironically the generous performer could have used his $10,000 Calgary Stampede Talent Show winnings to cut a few singles instead of donating to the Drop-In Centre. That fact, though, doesn’t phase the big-hearted teen. “That way I get to earn it,” says Hudson. life

“I like to take classic songs, deliver a revival and go into the unorthodox and pick songs you wouldn’t expect a 19-year-old male to be singing.� winter 2015/16

| airdrielife.com


Slice of life out anD aBout


ost of us just endure the daily grind. Dmitri Martin soaks it in, brews it up, savours the aroma and devotedly serves it to the rest of us. Having no beans to grind with franchise beverage outfits, the head-shaved, healthy-bearded entrepreneur escaped the ordinary fare, putting his personal touch on every aspect of Sorso Coffee Social. “I’ve always wanted to own my own restaurant but I couldn’t narrow it down to what I wanted exactly: a restaurant, a coffee shop or a pub,” says the industrious Airdrie resident. “I walked into places and noticed things that I liked or noticed things I would’ve done different. I guess my whole life I did that.” Focusing on characterization, style and, of course, taste, Martin percolates his knowledge into providing a relaxing, welcoming atmosphere at the Bayside restaurant/coffeehouse. Spending many months researching coffee and tea flavour profiles, recipes and food choices, Martin also sought out local feedback to get that perfect blend for Sorso (which is Italian for “to sip”).

Sorso owner Dmitri Martin has added a unique character to his new enterprise.

Getting social at Sorso story and photos by Carl patzEl

“Everything is made in-house in the oven. We try to do farm-totable as much as we can to stay local.” 26 airdrielife.com


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“I wasn’t in a rush. I did my due diligence, meeting with people and going around Airdrie asking what people wanted in a coffee shop,” says Martin, who incorporated a children’s area and meeting space into the establishment. Brewing up plenty of hard work, the pertinacious businessman left a reliable livelihood behind as a counsellor at Community Links and put his nose to the grindstone designing and building Sorso. Perking up the day from morning to night, the coffee social adds a shot of flavour to all gastronomic needs, whether it’s the Big Breakfast Croissant; a soup of the day matched with an Apple Turkey Bacon sandwich; latte or loose-leaf tea and hand-crafted cookies or desserts highlighting a relaxed afternoon meeting; or an evening snack co-ordinated with on-tap beer or the wellstocked wine bar. “The concept is to elevate everything; we have the best coffee, the best grinders,” says Martin, a self expressed ‘foodie’ who, along with an executive chef, created Sorso’s menu.“Everything is made in-house in the oven. We try to do farm-to-table as much as we can to stay local. “If you have a ham sandwich that comes up as a roast ham with a bone, we will use that bone to make a split pea and ham soup later,” he adds. Building its foundation on coffee, Sorso uses two top-of-theline professional grinders in offering the house blend as well as a rotating guest blend Martin brings in from Calgary, Edmonton, Victoria and as far away as Nova Scotia. “I’m not tied down to a single roast. At any given time if you want our house roast it’s always available, but we’re always bringing in and showcasing other roasters from around Canada,” says Martin, who also sourced out 30 different 100 per cent organic loose-leaf teas. Keeping with a caffeinated energetic theme, the assiduous java vendor even designed and fashioned the social gathering place decor. Sorso’s main feature is a vintage 1890s bar decorated with industrial styled stools retrofitted by Martin. Adding another bit of history to the establishment, the sitting area is decorated with up-cycled tables rescued from the Cecil Hotel in Calgary. “It’s a piece of heritage. I resanded them, got them stained with new glass and coffee sacks underneath and re-powder-coated the bases. That’s your personal touch. We do that with the coffee, with the tea, with the food menu, even with the decor,” says Martin, who is planning to add a drive-thru to the establishment. “Everything here has my signature on it, including the music you’re listening to. My staff may think I’m a bit of a micromanager,” Martin adds with a chuckle. life MoRe LIFe oNLINe Check out Sorso’s recipe for espresso rubbed Braised Sirloin Tip at airdrielife.com winter 2015/16

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Slice of life Events

Winter wonders Nov. 12-Dec. 17 ADOPT-A-BOOK Airdrie Public Library Celebrate the holiday season and support the library. Nov. 20-21 CHRISTMAS MARKETPLACE Airdrie Koinonia Christian School Shop for everyone on your list with a variety of vendors – Christmas shopping made easy! Friday 5-9 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 21 SUGAR PLUM FAIR The Hamlets at Cedarwood Station Enjoy festive treats, music, shopping and wagon rides around Fletcher Park. 403-945-2222. 12-4 p.m. Nov. 21-Dec. 5 FESTIVAL OF TREES Davis Chevrolet Win one of 15 beautifully decorated Christmas trees at this second annual event, with trees raffled off in support of Boys & Girls Club of Airdrie and Airdrie Food Bank. Nov. 27 AUTHOR VISIT: ALI BRYAN Airdrie Public Library With wine and cheese; live music by Adam Scotten. Program room open for children with games and Lego. Free. 7-8:30 p.m.

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Nov. 28 LIZZY HOYT Bert Church Theatre An award-winning Canadian vocalist and songwriter who also happens to rank among the top Celtic instrumentalists in the country, Hoyt delivers music and stories with soaring melodies rooted in Celtic and folk tradition. Let her dazzle you with her talents as a multi-instrumentalist on fiddle, guitar, mandolin and harp plus step-dance. Admission $24. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1-31 AIRDRIE FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS Nose Creek Park One of Canada’s largest outdoor lights displays, the Airdrie Festival of Lights has been dazzling visitors for 20 years! Come out for a winter walk (or take the miniature trains!), grab a cup of hot chocolate, warm yourself by the fire and enjoy some good old-fashioned family fun and holiday cheer. 6-9 p.m. every night in December, including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Admission by cash donation; parking is free.

Dec. 5 SANTA CLAUS PARADE Main Street Santa and Mrs. Claus are coming to Airdrie! Enjoy a variety of fantastic floats as they light up downtown. Parade starts at Fletcher Park (6th Ave. NW) and proceeds southbound on Main Street to Ridgegate Boulevard. A fun, festive way to get ready for the holidays. 4-6 p.m. Dec. 7 CHRISTMAS MALL IN THE HALL CrossFit403 Support Carter’s Quest for a Cure and enjoy a day of holiday shopping, including fun for the kids. Don’t miss pictures with Santa (11 a.m.2 p.m., by donation). 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

DEC. 3-5 MAINSTAGE PRESENTS LITTLE WOMEN Torchlight Theatre Tickets $20 (adults), $15 (seniors/students) 7 p.m. each evening; Dec. 5 matinee 2:30 p.m.

winter 2015/16

Lizzy Hoyt


For the community A variety of initiatives are held around the city to support children and families in need of a little extra help over the holiday season. For more than 35 years, the Airdrie Lioness Club Christmas Hamper Program has provided personalized hampers for low-income families at Christmas. Sponsors are recruited and matched with recipients. Hampers consists of food for a Christmas meal, gifts for each immediate family member and groceries for a week to brighten the holidays for a struggling individual or family. The Butcher Shoppe Toy Drive, which takes place through to Dec. 18, has been collecting toys in support of the Alberta Children’s Hospital for 13 years strong. Airdrians can enjoy 15 beautifully decorated Christmas trees on display during the second annual Festival of Trees at Davis Chevrolet Nov. 21 through Dec. 5. Trees will be raffled off in support of Boys & Girls Club of Airdrie and Airdrie Food Bank.

th annual Toy Drive It’s our our 12 13th It’s annual Toy Drive forthe theAlberta Alberta Children’s Children’s Hospital for Hospital

WeWe want to thank the the community for your continued support with our thefor kidstheatkids the Children’s want to thank community for your continued support withToy ourDrive Toy for Drive at the Hospital. If you areChildren’s able to donate a newIf unopened toy,togame, book or puzzle, we will be game, collecting fororinfants 17-year-old boys and girls Hospital. you are able donate a new unopened toy, book puzzle,towe will be collecting from untiltoDec. 17. We alsoand be girls accepting donations, which18th. we will buybe toys and games before we fornow infant 17 year oldwill boys from cash now until December Weuse willtoalso accepting cashjust donations, make our we delivery to the hospital before helpdelivery make Christmas ‘Special’ thosebefore little ones who are which will use to buy toysthe andweek games justChristmas. before wePlease make our to the hospital theforweek at the hospital Please over thehelp holidays. Christmas. make Christmas ‘Special’ for those little ones that are at the Hospital over the holidays.

Towerlane II - 705 Main Street Airdrie, AB Phone. Fax. 403.948.9572 www.thebutchershoppe.ca

Eat well... Live well

We are now booking for Christmas, Please don’t delay. Fresh Free Range Turkeys

Amazing selection of Gluten-Free Baking All baked in store

Smoked Turkeys whole or half Fresh Turduckin Stuffed or Unstuffed

Bone in Smoked Ham Locally farm raised

For someone special a culinary gift is always exciting to receive Gift Baskets Gift Cards Speciality Meat Packs

Smoked Boneless Leg Ham Made in Store

Specialty Baking Pies - Cakes - Cookies - Squares Grade A Goose Locally Raised Towerlane II - 705 Main Street Airdrie, AB

AAA Prime Rib Roast Alberta’s Best 28 Day age minimum Phone. Fax. 403.948.9572 www.thebutchershoppe.ca winter 2015/16

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Slice of life eventS

Dec. 12 ARRoGANT WoRMS – cHRISTMAS Bert church Theatre It began as a hobby, making fun of a big dumb world. Luckily, the world is still dumb and the Arrogant Worms (Mike McCormick, Chris Patterson and Trevor Strong) still have plenty to sing about. The shows are fast, furious and family-friendly. The wit is quick, the satire is biting and the musicianship is second to none. Their appeal has earned the Arrogant Worms fans from kids to parents to grandparents. Admission $27. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20 SPARK PReSeNTS THE SNOW QUEEN Torchlight Theatre Admission $5 and food bank item. 6 p.m.

JAN. 30-31 AIRDRIe HeALTH eXPo Town & country centre Features local health-and-fitness-directed products and services, including but not limited to skin care, birthing, essential oils, women’s health, community sports, weight loss and more. Admission $2 for ages 12 plus; 50 per cent of all proceeds to local charity. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Coming in 2016

FeB. 13 RoYAL WooD Bert church Theatre A prolific songwriter and one of Canada’s major talents, Royal Wood released his fifth studio album, The Burning Bright, to debut in the Top 30 Canadian Chart. The album registered several firsts for Wood, whose chart-topping 2012 release, the JUNO Award-nominated We Were Born To Glory, firmly established him as one of the country’s most accomplished alt-pop singer/songwriters, producers, arrangers and multi-instrumentalists. Admission $28.95. 7:30 p.m.

JAN. 23 INTeRNATIoNAL GUITAR NIGHT (IGN) Bert church Theatre The 2016 edition of IGN, the world’s premier touring guitar festival, brings four interesting and innovative guitarists together to exchange musical ideas in a public concert setting. San Franciscan guitar poet Brian Gore is joined by Lulo Reinhardt, from Germany, carrying on Django’s Gypsy Swing legacy with an added Latin flavour; Mike Dawes, an English virtuoso Fingerstyle guitar player; and German guitar virtuoso Andre krengel. Admission $29. 7:30 p.m. JAN. 24 WILL STRoeT – WILL’S JAMS Bert church Theatre Get ready to boogie! Will Stroet, the award-winning entertainer and star of Will’s Jams on kids’ CBC television, performs a high-energy and educational show with fun actions and sing-a-long choruses in English and French. Will’s music inspires kids to be active, healthy, creative and


winter 2015/16

JAN. 30 TD AIRDRIe MAYoR’S NIGHT oF THe ARTS Bert church Theatre Join Airdrie’s arts and culture community at this stunning evening chock-full of live entertainment on the Bert Church Theatre stage as awards are presented to the arts community and its patrons. A joint project of Creative Airdrie Society, Airdrie Rotary Festival of Performing Arts, Nose Creek Players, Airdrie Regional Arts Society, City of Airdrie, Airdrie Public Library and SLAM in Airdrie. Tickets $40 (seniors $25). Reception 6 p.m., awards 7 p.m., dessert reception 9 p.m.

Dec. 31 NeW YeAR’S eve FIReWoRKS east Lake Park Ring in the new year with some community spirit and enjoy the child-friendly fireworks display. Show is about 15 minutes long. Approximate start time 6:30 p.m.

JANUARY-FeBRUARY ART IN THe LIBRARY Airdrie Public Library Sparrow & Fig by Chelsea George + Alicia Laurin.

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engaged in the world. kids will be cheering for libraries, loving their bikes and rallying for vegetables – all while they’re on their feet and dancing away to Will and his Backyard Band. Admission $16. 2:30 p.m.

FeB. 14 GRIM AND FIScHeR BY WoNDeRHeADS Bert church Theatre The Grim Reaper meets his match in Mrs. Fischer, a stubborn senior whose will to live is a force to be reckoned with. Equal parts hilarious and touching, this award-winning physical comedy by mask imagineers the Wonderheads is the story of a tenacious granny who comes face to face with the Grim Reaper himself and must put up the fight of her life to escape his definitive grip. Grim and Fischer is performed in full-face mask, a form so magical you will forget your age and marvel in childlike delight. Recommended ages 10 to adult. Admission $16. 2:30 p.m.



Keeping Airdrie Smiling Since 1994

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| airdrielife.com


Slice of life

feStivalS by alEx frazEr-harrison

Let there be lights! Twenty years of glow is being celebrated this december in nose Creek Park. airdrielife explores the roots of the largest outdoor walk-through light show in Western Canada.


t started out as an odds-defying attempt to put Airdrie on the map. Twenty years later, the Airdrie Festival of Lights is one of the city’s most popular annual events. “Airdrie was a bedroom community of Calgary and the only thing people would talk about was the hockey arena,” recalls Stan Softley, who in 1995 was an Airdrie alderman. “I felt we needed an identity.” Inspiration came to Softley while he was visiting Spanish Fork, Utah, a suburb of Salt Lake City near where his daughter lived.“The community put on a lights festival in their park – the cars would drive in and drive around,” he says.“I looked around Airdrie and thought, could we do this?” Softley contacted the company that made the lights for Spanish Fork, ordered some for Airdrie (to the tune of about $300,000, he recalls), and began enlisting his colleagues on council and in the community. “It’s the way Stan likes to operate – it got sprung on me,” laughs one-time fellow alderman Rey Rawlins. “He said he wanted to do this Festival of Lights thing, and he had the lights coming. The guy put himself on the line for it.” John Whitrick came into the event due in part, he says, to his experience founding and running Airdrie’s Chautauqua summer festival. “Stan said, ‘How would you like to be part of a winter festival?’” recalls Whitrick. “He was the one [who] showed me a drawing showing the park, showing the arches – it wasn’t too badly thrown together and it got me going. He took a gamble and I think it paid off.” Like his colleagues, Whitrick, who worked for Nova at the time, devoted weekends and evenings to setting up that first year and recalls how late in the day the final planning came together. “It was October when we decided to do this – so that gave us two months to put it together,” he says. “In a way, it was a little bit like having the deer-in-the-headlights feeling. We didn’t have much chance to smell the roses; we were going full time.”

Adds Rawlins: “[Stan] picked one of the worst winters to start it and one of the coldest. There was probably skepticism on many people’s part. But Stan’s enthusiasm got to the rest of us!” Softley recalls when the truck from South Carolina bearing the lights arrived in Airdrie. “The day we were going to unload the truck, it was -20 [C] and the wind was blowing and the snow was blowing – and we didn’t have that many people out to help,” he says. “The driver [from South Carolina] said he’d never seen such cold.” Peter Pape was another early recruit. “I was allocated by the Chamber of Commerce to work on the festival, and I thought it was an absolutely great thing,” Pape says. “We struggled with manpower, with debt load – but if it wasn’t for the hard work of the people [who] were originally involved, it probably would have gone under. But they were determined to not let that happen. “The first year,” Pape adds, “we got all the decorations and laid them on the ground [in position]. That night, it snowed 22 centimetres and buried everything.” Ever resourceful, they quickly developed a foolproof system for finding the buried lights. “When you walked on the snow and heard the crunch of a bulb breaking, you knew it was the lights,” Softley says. At one point, he recalls, they recruited inmates from one of the jails in Calgary to help set up the lights.“They brought in a busload of guys in orange snowsuits,” he says. “The next year, I had one guy come up to me and he said, ‘I want to help set up. I was one of the convicts.’ He had been so impressed, he wanted to come back and help with his kids.” Alan Tennant, then a local Realtor (and today CEO of the Calgary Real Estate Board), started volunteering in 1999 and later took over from Softley as president of the non-profit Airdrie Festival of Lights Society. At the time Tennant joined, a developer had purchased the parking lot used for the festival. “That property … was

“The first year, we got all the decorations and laid them on the ground [in position]. That night, it snowed 22 centimetres and buried everything.” 32 airdrielife. airdrielife.com


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Rey Rawlins (centre)

critically needed for parking,” he says. “The reason I got involved was I didn’t think [people] were concerned enough and should be going to city council … relocating the festival was not an option. I was part of the original Nose Creek Foundation that had raised money to put a park on that land, and I thought the festival was a perfect marriage.” Ultimately, Tennant says, the City bought the property back from the developer and the society negotiated to buy it, with a 20-year payment plan. “It was a defining moment to say we were going to be here for 20 years,” says Tennant. “It was going to be a lasting entity – part of the Airdrie fabric.” Tennant also brought some marketing savvy to the organization. “They needed to bring in some marketing expertise and some structure to meetings, some budgeting,” he says, adding that he recruited Sherry Shaw-Froggatt (now publisher of airdrielife) to chair the marketing committee. Whitrick continues to be involved in the festival, often being called upon to play Santa Claus. “I’ve been Santa for a couple of weddings,” he laughs. But one aspect of the festival Whitrick is most proud to have introduced is Steven’s Run, which was inspired by a family who wanted their terminally ill child to experience the Airdrie Festival of Lights – and the child received royal treatment. Today, Steven’s Run involves the Airdrie fire department, EMS, the RCMP and others helping to give children from Alberta Children’s Hospital a night of wonder. “We try to make it a real night for the family,” says Whitrick, who’s played Santa for the occasion, too. Pape says that Steven’s Run has a huge impact on the families.“You’ve got to think positive because this is basically memories for the families – and positive memories – being created,” he says.“That’s what I believe it’s all about.” While some of the original founders have moved on, new faces have come on board to keep the event vibrant. Rob and Michelle Pirzek came to Airdrie in 2003, but they already knew about the event. “We lived in a low-income neighbourhood in Calgary and I was in charge of family activities, so I used to book a bus trip to the Festival of Lights because it was so affordable,” says Michelle, who today is the society’s co-ordinator. “I had no idea it was volunteer-run and how much went on in the background.

Stan Softley

Stan Softley My first year was: 1995 I was involved for: 7 years My first memory of the lights: It was opening night … my wife and I came out past the school and you could see the cars lined up all the way out of town and all the people in the park. I bawled and then got out of the car and helped direct traffic. My favourite memory: There are lots of memories. I remember when [country superstar] Garth Brooks was flying over in his plane and we’d made a sign, “Airdrie Loves Garth Brooks.” We’d made arrangements with the Calgary [airport] tower, and his pilot flew over and we turned the lights on. And the plane turned and flew over again. My wish for the festival: To keep going and have more volunteers. John Whitrick My first year was: 1995 I’ve been involved for: 20 years My first memory of the lights: It was just overwhelming. We were building this non-stop. My favourite memory: We had a fellow who’d lost a loved one. Someone managed to coax him into volunteering and what happened that night was magical. He ended up driving the train and that was the night when we had a Steven’s Run. It turned his life around. My wish for the festival: That everyone would know the roots, the struggles, the fun, the excitement … keeping those going and having new things happen for the next 20 years. Alan Tennant My first year was: 1999 I was involved for: 10 years My first memory of the lights: It was “Oh my God, these guys are doing it,” as I drove down Main Street and saw them doing their thing. To see the lights on was phenomenal. My favourite memory: We’d put on Christmas carols … turn off the lights, but leave the music playing. I also loved the sound of snow under our feet and hearing the children laughing, the little whistle on the train going. My wish for the festival: I hope it can continue to be a key part of Airdrie.

John Whitrick

Rey Rawlins My first year was: 1995 I was involved for: About 15 years My first memory of the lights: What stuck in my head was the little kids, watching them walk around … looking at the lights, Santa Claus. My favourite memory: Too many. I remember being there one of the coldest nights. We had a fire going and a fellow with his grandson came down. It was -40; we made up some hot chocolate and had a good old time. And then a bus pulled up from Calgary with a bunch of crazies wearing shorts! My wish for the festival: I just hope they can keep it going. There are some challenges coming up to keep things modernized. Peter Pape My first year was: 1995 I was involved for: 14 years My first memory of the lights: Seeing the kids coming in there and their eyes really wide open because it’s pretty amazing when you first see [the lights]. My favourite memory: The event called Steven’s Run. The idea of that was we bring in a group from Alberta Children’s Hospital … terminally ill children who bring family and friends. They’re creating memories. My wish for the festival: [After paying off the debt from the land purchase] that they can now reinvest everything back into the event and continue to build the festival. Rob and Michelle Pirzek Our first year was: 2003 We’ve been involved for: 12 years My first memory of the lights (Michelle): Bringing in low-income families from Calgary to see the lights. My favourite memory (Rob): It happens every year when the kids come in and they look at the lights and go, “Wow!” My wish for the festival (Rob): It would be nice to have more community participation to keep us going for another 40 years. My wish for the festival (Michelle): For it to continue so we can watch it ‘glow’ and watch it blossom.

winter 2015/16

| airdrielife.com


Slice of life


“It’s one of those hidden gems,” she adds, “because it’s so family-friendly and so affordable. The train rides are still $2, the hot chocolate is $2.” And the event continues to work with different non-profit groups such as the Airdrie and District Hospice Society’s Tree of Hope and Community Links (the Pirzeks started out by helping local Girl Guides on Friday nights at the festival) and last year the festival hosted the Great Airdrie Train Race (between Airdrie firefighters and EMS) in support of the Tim Jackson Memorial Scholarship and Airdrie and District Victims Assistance Society. (Speaking of trains, a brandnew model will be debuting at this year’s festival, Michelle adds.) Rob, the society’s current president, says that even though you’d think after 20 years of putting the lights show on each holiday season would be a snap, it’s always going to be a challenge. “We’ve become a little more efficient at it, but it’s always a challenge.” In particular, he says, the event could use more volunteers. Although it still attracts thousands of spectators, the number of volunteers has dropped from 300-400 when he and his wife started with the event. “We’re now looking at 150 people to help us do the same.” The Pirzeks are hopeful that many of the founding volunteers from back in 1995 will be on hand to mark the 20th anniversary this December. According to Airdrie Mayor Peter Brown, from its humble beginnings the festival has always been a premier event in the community. “It’s grown into what I perceive is one of the best Christmas events in Alberta,” Brown says. “I’m just really thankful it’s here in the community.” Adds Softley, now 70 and living in Provo, Utah, where he and his wife, Rosanne, opened a flags and related gifts shop in 2001: “It’s done what I hope it would do – it’s made people proud.” life

The Airdrie Festival of Lights Society is in need of volunteers to help with this year’s event, which runs Dec. 1-31, 6- 9 p.m. nightly. For more information, visit airdriefestivaloflights.com

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SoFTLeY IS WRITING A BooK ABoUT HIS TIMe IN AIRDRIe, including the origin of the Festival of Lights, and says that he’s on the hunt for photos and people’s recollections about its early days. if you can help, please e-mail stan@flagsandstuff.com or write to 276 n. University Ave., Provo, Utah, 84601-2821.



Yankee Valley Blvd


Kingsview Blvd SE

Queen Elizabeth II Hwy


Veterans Blvd


winter 2015/16

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Slice of life stage

Lighting the Torch for Theatre story by Ellen Kelly | photo by Carl Patzel


irdrie has been introduced to an exciting new theatre experience this year. Torchlight Theatre, the brainchild of artistic director Chelsea Restall, launched in June with the SPARK summer camp for youths aged 15-18 (younger participants will be considered) as its first achievement. The program is aimed at young people who love dance, spoken word and/or theatre or those who would like to learn performance skills from industry professionals. Main stage productions from the theatre company will include classics as well as works from new Canadian artists. Restall hopes that one day Torchlight Theatre will perform five productions a year, including musical theatre and Shakespeare, and host camps for children and adults, but this first season will consist of SPARK and two feature plays, one in December and one in the spring. Torchlight Theatre calls Victory Church’s new 350-seat auditorium home. The theatre is not faith-based, says Restall (although she admits that she probably won’t choose plays with nudity or a lot of profanity).“Uplifting art comes from all walks of life, all cultures and all religions,” she says.“There is truth in art, whether it is written by a Christian, a Muslim, a Buddhist or a secular person. “We’re just happy to have the church as a rehearsal hall and a performance place,” she adds.

“I want people to be able to go to the theatre and escape and leave feeling lightened, encouraged and challenged in a positive way.” Restall, who grew up in Airdrie and is currently creative arts director at Victory Church, acted in a church play with her grandfather when she was three. Not too may years after that, she knew she wanted to be an actress. “I was watching a movie,” she recalls, “and I remember going, ‘Oh, I can do that!’ Ever since then, everything I’ve done has been toward acting and theatre.” She attended Rocky Mountain College, taking drama and fine arts, and continues to study in various workshops in Calgary. She acts, writes and directs. “I love acting – that’s my passion and that’s what I want to do with my whole life but in the industry you have to be a jack of all trades,” she says. Her first film role was in a TV miniseries, Into the West, and in the past 10 years she has appeared in several independent

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short films. On stage, she has acted in The Hunt for Red Willie (Liffy Players) and recently played Mrs. Markham in Move Over, Mrs. Markham (Morpheus Threatre.) Her dream is to play Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing with a Shakespeare theatre company in Calgary. “That would be the cherry on top,” she says. Even though getting work in the arts is extremely challenging, she adds, “I decided a long time ago that if I wanted a career in acting I was going to have to create my own career. I wanted to open up opportunities for other artists, as well.” While Restall mourns the loss of programs at Mount Royal University and Rocky Mountain College due to funding cuts, she hopes to develop a strong mentorship program through SPARK and the Torchlight Theatre company. Young performers are welcome to audition for Torchlight’s feature productions. For those interested in auditioning for any of the productions, the biggest thing is commitment, says the artistic director. “If you are going to come and be a part of the show you have to be committed,” Restall says, adding that carpenters, set designers, costumers, lighting and sound people, and stage managers are also needed, and she welcomes sponsors and inquiries from advertisers. For this inaugural year, she simply wants to bring something unique and special to her community. “I want people to be able to go to the theatre and escape and leave feeling lightened, encouraged and challenged in a positive way,” Restall says. “I always want the audience to leave feeling good.” life

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Visit torchlighttheatre.ca for information on upcoming shows, including Little Women and SPARK’s The Snow Queen, which both run in December. winter 2015/16

| airdrielife.com


Slice of life makeover story by Seline Badel-Wong | photos by Kristy Reimer

Sarah’s New Style


’m Seline Badel-Wong, a personal stylist, and my first challenge with airdrielife is helping Sarah Conduct with a new look after losing 20 pounds! Her tiny frame strikes me; she is delicate with refined features, long blond flowing hair, a slight nose and soft, green eyes. Sarah is a helper, a mother of two, a wife and also a 911 operator. She has always wanted to help people and has just returned from a trip to the U.K. where she cared for her mother after surgery. I learn that Sarah, like most of us, is a little self-conscious about her body. Despite losing weight in the airdrielife makeover challenge, she says that she doesn’t love her arms and legs, or drawing attention to them. I tell her that many of us suffer from that. Sometimes we are waiting for that perfect body to dress but we should consider our health – and things like our ability to keep up with kids and our zest for life – as more important. She agrees. Because Sarah has a smaller stature and column shape, we discuss the need to draw attention to her waist. This defines her midsection and draws the eye in toward her middle. Despite her thinking she doesn’t have great arms and legs, she does! We want to show those off! Finally, dressing in layers will help distinguish parts of the body and her torso from her bottom half. Sarah works 12-hour shifts so she needs comfort in her clothes but doesn’t want to sacrifice looking good. A fabulous pair of black skinny jeggings from RW&CO. are soft and comfortable to wear but will give Sarah a sexy date-night look that emphasizes those legs. I pair the jeggings with a colourful blouse from Joe Fresh and a cropped leather jacket to accentuate her waist. This season the shearling is an edgy accent piece. It’s paired with her black skinny jeggings and a soft, comfortable RW&CO. cotton top. The shearling vest adds interest to an otherwise everyday outfit and I am reminded that sometimes all it takes is one statement piece to bring it all together.

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Own the cover art!

Start a new tradition

Postcard and limited edition prints of the original work of art by Lia Golemba are now available. All proceeds support the Creative Airdrie Society. Order online at airdrielife.com

Purchase a Gingerbread Family and $1.00 goes to our local Habitat for Humanity.

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winter 2015/16

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Slice of life makeover

A lipstick-pink DKNY dress with leather accents gives Sarah a beautiful silhouette, cut in at the waistline to give her more definition. When paired with sexy black pumps and black opaque tights, it is the perfect event dress. Living in our climate, we all need outerwear. At H&M, we find Sarah a rich, army-inspired green jacket and pair it with a colourful scarf and tuque. To create those defining layers I choose a textured, cableknit sweater.

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Sarah is a mom who brings it all together. A great family, a great career – she deserves to celebrate her success in this challenge. Wendy Bates-Wiebe cuts her hair and colours it with a beautiful, natural ombré that gives her a modern update, and makeup artist Preet Nijjar brightens Sarah’s already flawless skin. As Kristy Reimer gets busy on the photos of our makeover winner, I am hopeful Sarah will relish this moment and her new figure and enjoy staying healthy and fit in her fabulous new wardrobe. life

Special thanks to:

Fashions: CrossIron Mills Hair: The Hair Lounge Make-up: Studio 150 Makeup Artistry Accessories: The Store Upstairs Stylist: Seline Badel-Wong, The Fashion-Fix.com

Want to be our next makeover?

Send us your photo and in 50 words or less tell us why you deserve it! sherry@frogmediainc.ca

Glowing Nightly Celebrating 40 years as Airdrie’s #1 Source For Breaking News, Sports & What’s Happening in YOUR COMMUNITY!

December 1 - 31 6pm - 9pm

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Follow Us on Twitter @Airdrie_Echo Like Us on Facebook @ Airdrie Echo www.airdrieecho.com 112 – 1st Avenue N.E. 403-948-7280

airdriefestivaloflights.com winter 2015/16

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role play

Slice of life coluMn


With vanEssa pEtErElli

With power comes responsibility ... find fun in the journey


s a parent, you already know the importance of modelling good behaviour. The guidelines are part of our parent code. Be patient, helpful, thankful, thoughtful and kind. Mind your manners, follow the rules, make healthy choices, exercise and get enough sleep. Don’t pass judgement, smoke, abuse alcohol or do drugs ... the list is long. “Your child is your biggest fan,” says Dr. Paul Bajor of Access Chiropractic and Wellness.“When someone holds you on such a pedestal, you have to remember that [it] is your obligation, duty and responsibility to be the best you can be. Promoting and modelling healthy habits is a great place to start, and it can begin as simply as donning your shades. “When it comes to ensuring excellent eye health at a young age, wearing sunglasses [is] key,” says Dr. Heather Cowie of Airdrie Family Eye Doctors. She notes that children are actually at more risk for UV damage than adults, so it is important to get them used to wearing sunglasses at a young age. Other easy-to-follow habits suggested by Cowie include frequent hand washing, not touching or rubbing your eyes and following a healthy diet. “A diet rich in veggies (of course carrots!) and also fish is great for eye health,” says Cowie. Meanwhile, avoid smoking, which can lead to early cataracts and macular degeneration, she adds.

Because seeing IS believing! Your child’s vision is our priority

“If you smoke, eat junk food, consume lots of sugar, (your children) will embrace this as being acceptable,” notes Bajor.“It’s easier to set an example rather than to make excuses for your own actions. With that in mind, Bajor suggests taking your children along to the grocery store. Let them see you choose healthy foods, such as organic and locally grown options. “Chances are they will ask you why you are making the choices that you do and that gives you an opportunity to educate them,” he says. Both doctors remind parents to stay up to date on regular health exams. A commitment to natural health is also important, says Bajor. “Like any behavior, good health and wellness is learned,” he says.“It is not something that comes naturally to us, especially [in] this day and age. “There are an overwhelming amount of external sources (commercials and advertisements, for example) that influence our kids,” he adds, noting these are not always positive. According to Bajor, one of the main sources of drugs for children is pain medication that they find at home in their parents’ possession. “Wouldn’t you rather have them ask you why you see the chiropractor for back pain over why you’re on your second bottle of Tylenol or Robaxacet?” he says. Other pressures abound, as well. “There is so much pressure to put your children in so many different activities to ensure that they are ‘wellrounded’ individuals,” says Karen Yackel, artistic director with Airdrie

this OR that?

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Children’s Choir.“We worry about getting them into the ‘right’ program or ... whether they are going to enjoy the program. “Everything seems to be about entertaining our children instead of educating them,” she adds. Yackel suggests embracing music as a fun activity the whole family can enjoy, regardless of whether or not your child is enrolled in a music program. “Everyone loves music; we all listen to music every day,” she says. She recommends music that is varied and age-appropriate, and encourages singing and the incorporation of dancing and fun games. “When our children grow up they remember most family times spent together,” says Yackel.“Music is one way to create those memories.” “The best for us as parents is to keep looking in a mirror and remember this is what our kids see day to day,” adds Bajor.“What is part of your life will become part of their lives and they will accept this as normal.” But don’t get bogged down by that daunting list tied to the parent code. Turn things around and find the fun in setting a good Artistic Director example. Get active as a famKaren Yackel ily. Cook healthy foods together. Enrol in a community program or volunteer your time together. Nurture an interest or hobby the Together whole family can enjoy. in Song Then turn up the music and inspire a kitchen dance party. Sing out loud, practise your wackiest dance moves and create For January start book your Meet and Greet audition today some family fun ... as if someone Call 403.980.9748 or visit is watching. life

Airdrie Children’s Choir


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600 705 Main Street SW 403.912.2020 airdriefamilyeyedoctors.com winter 2015/16

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Slice of life coluMn

If you want people to eat, play or stay with your business, you need to advertise here! The only Airdrie-focused tourism guide available across southern Alberta! To book your ad in the 2016 edition call Sharie Tanner 403.703.7756 shariet@frogmediainc.ca



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winter 2015/16

I’m drawing a blank


ou know what the dumbest thing is for a guy with a regular column in a magazine to get? Writer’s block. That’s right – there are times when I have no idea what I want to talk about or, in this case, what to write about. Usually the process of starting to write my column consists of a moment of inspiration. Something in my life happens that turns into words on paper for you to enjoy. Inspiration can really come from anywhere, and it has … I just haven’t been able to put those moments into keyboard strokes.

“And as anybody who has experienced writer’s block can confirm, more pressure means a bigger block.”


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With rob JamiEson

10/21/15 4:30 PM

So as my deadline approaches, there’s more pressure. And as anybody who has experienced writer’s block can confirm, more pressure means a bigger block. Words get harder to type, ideas become impossible to create. I just have no idea what I’m about to do, and thus even more pressure.

You know an amazing woman... nominate her today.

Nominate online at airdrielife.com. Closes Nov 30. 2015.



Now this can lead in a few different directions. The easiest, but far from the best, option is to just give up: the proverbial crumpling of paper and tossing it into the wastebasket and walking away from the project. (You’re reading this, so I didn’t take this route.) The next is stretching for ideas. This column could have been about all the reasons why pears are my favourite fruit, or an oral history of the ’80s TV show Airwolf, of which I own every episode on DVD. (I would have sat and watched every episode back to back had I sold myself on this idea, and put my thoughts about it into this column. Again, obviously I didn’t do that.) I also ask others what I should write in my column. Where I thought I would find amazing ideas I instead found a different type of writer’s block – that of those who don’t even have to write the column, but still have to come up with the idea so that someone else can write said column. Pressure doubles. Probability of ideas diminishes drastically. ‘Fight or flight’ kicks in. I’m dying, drowning to come up with something that will make sense and that people will read. Now I’m thinking that whatever I write about, nobody is going to care anyway. I mean … a column about pears? What the heck is Airwolf (easily the best television show based on helicopters in the history of television shows based on helicopters)? But then something happens. An idea “just pops in there,” as Ghostbuster Ray Stantz would say, and I now spill words as if nothing is holding me back. Fingers fly, and the word processor processes. My column takes shape. And now I’m three-quarters of the way through my writing, and I’m starting to wonder what the problem was in the first place that created my block. In the end, it’s all OK, mainly because I just finished destroying my writer’s block by writing a whole column about writer’s block. And all the while the one thing that couldn’t get me started has led me to the finish line. How absurd, right? Welcome to my process. life


1. Q: Why isn’t there a big outlet store for quality Pre-owned cars/trucks/vans & SUV’s? A: But there is. Just Google CARSCO. 2. Q: Why is it so hard to find the best price? A: We’re not too sure. CARSCO does the homework for you and is consistently ranked in the top 3 for value in the region. 3. Q: Why doesn’t anyone have the car I want now? A: That one puzzle’s us too. CARSCO has 150 vehicles on site, full access to the dealer only auction right down the road and 2 strategic partners with an additional 7 million dollars in Inventory. I bet CARSCO can find it!


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winter 2015/16

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We appear to be stacking up awards just like...

Voted Airdrie’s Best Brunch Deliciously Outrageous!

525 Woodside Drive NW Airdrie Reservations 403.948.7416

home life

i d e a s a n d a dv i c e f o r yo u r h o m e , i n s i d e a n d o u t

40 Stunning • 50 Final piece • 52 At home

hoMe life BuilDer profile

Working Harder just comes naturally by JEff maCKinnon


arder Homes is planning a stunner of a showhome for 2016 that Wayne Harder believes will be a winner with families looking to become residents of Cooper’s Crossing. “It’s going to show some new ideas and new things that have come to market and we are very excited about it,” says the company’s founder. “It has a very nice flow for a family in mind and it’s stunning. The layout is absolutely stunning. “I don’t want to go into too many details because it’s going to surprise,” Harder adds. “It’s a four-bedroom home with not just an ensuite that’s very unique but one bedroom that’s very unique, as well.” The custom home builder, who founded his company in 2008 with his wife, Simona, opened a first showhome in 2013 at 620 Cooper’s Landing. Homes start at around $750,000 with the most expensive residence Harder has built in the community to date (located in Cooper’s Park) topping out at $1.3 million. Heading into the fall the company had just a few lots remaining in Cooper’s Park, Harder says, and had finished in Cooper’s Ter-

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race and Cooper’s Drive. He was working on drawings for the new showhome prior to Christmas and hopes to have it ready for prospective clients to visit by summer 2016. In the meantime, Harder Homes was pre-selling 11 estates lots in Cooper’s Landing as of early October. “We are very excited about them. They are wide, west-facing lots out to water,” Harder says. The company is rolling with the economic changes that have come to Alberta in the past year and to accommodate for the change, Harder Homes is paying more attention to its renovation business and to building acreages. Harder does report that he is seeing an uptick in visits to his showhome. “The traffic (at our showhome) has started to increase and it seems there are more people coming out and they are more comfortable with what’s happened in Alberta,” he says. “We are still pretty optimistic that sales are going to continue to go well and we can still grow our company.” life

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| airdrielife.com


home life Developer Profile

Shopping comes to by Jeff MacKinnon

Artist rendering – concept only.

Cooper’s Crossing


ore than 15 years ago, the founders of WestMark Holdings Ltd. and developers of Cooper’s Crossing had a vision of what the community could be. Now, one of the central pieces of their plans is close to becoming a reality. Located in the southwest corner of Cooper’s Crossing adjacent to 40th Avenue and Eighth Street, the 12-acre Cooper’s Town Promenade shopping centre – set to open in 2017 – will help complete the community and offer residents near and far something very special. “Our first showhome opened in 1999 and finally our vision is coming together and we are quite pleased with how it’s working out,” says Paul Gerla, who helped found the family-owned WestMark with father Rod and brother Keith.“I think residents will appreciate having many of their daily needs within walking distance, and it’s shaping up to be such a nicelooking shopping centre. The plan includes a charming main street and a grand outdoor plaza.” The shopping centre provides the final piece of the puzzle to make the community complete with all the features the Gerlas thought were important. “We imagined creating a place where residents could spend a Sunday afternoon strolling along streets lined with really nice homes. Perhaps they would choose to walk along the pond on their way to the shops for a coffee and a few things for dinner from the grocery store. Then they could let the kids burn off energy at the playground on the way home. All without ever needing to get in the car,” Gerla says. Established in the late 1980s, WestMark – which along with the founders consists of Helen Shields, Mel Munstermann and

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Melinda Pryor – is also the developer of Waterstone Park and The Springs. When it came to the Cooper’s Crossing shopping area, the Airdrie business has been working closely with Ronmor, the Calgary-based development and management company that owns and manages a large number of shopping centres, office buildings and industrial properties. “Ronmor has spent tremendous design effort to come up with an ambitious concept plan for Cooper’s Town Promenade and we feel very fortunate to partner with one of the most reputable commercial developers in the province.” says Gerla. “We now look forward to working with the City to finalize plans in a way that meets the very high expectations of everyone involved. “Our hope has always been that this project will be in keeping [with] the outstanding residential portion of the community and eventually be regarded as the nicest shopping centre in town,” he adds. Cooper’s Town Promenade is expected to include Save-On Foods, Highlander Wine & Spirits, a drug store, a child care facility, a gas bar and a coffee shop as well as dental and medical offices. An exciting array of smaller boutique shops and restaurants will join the mix as the project nears completion. “When people think of the most appealing shopping destinations, they think of Kensington and Fourth Street (in Calgary) … it’s very hard to replicate something that’s supported by a city of a million people and more than 100 years of history,” Gerla says. “But if you compare apples to apples and compare this Cooper’s Town plan to other recently built neighbourhood shopping centres, I think it’ll rank up there as one of the best anywhere in Calgary or Southern Alberta.” life


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hoMe life neighBourhooD For candi Strohan and daughter Maddi, as well as the rest of their family, Williamstown’s environmental reserve was a big attraction.


“We liked the environmental reserve – our biggest goal was we were always hoping for someplace where we wouldn’t get a big development right beside us.” 52 airdrielife.com


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ith its quiet location on Airdrie’s north side, Williamstown manages to preserve a small-town atmosphere within a growing city. The community sits north of Veterans Boulevard between Williamstown Boulevard and Eighth Street and is bisected by Nose Creek and an environmental reserve. It was this green space that attracted Ryan Boyle and Candi Strohan when they moved to the neighbourhood in 2013. “We liked the environmental reserve – our biggest goal was we were always hoping for someplace where we wouldn’t get a big development right beside us,” says Strohan, a nurse who teaches at Bow Valley College and also does community home care in Calgary. She, Boyle (who works in plumbing) and their two daughters – Maddi, 13, and Erica, 16 – made the move from Saskatoon. “We always wanted to come to Alberta, and it was the right time,” says Strohan. “We looked at Calgary, but I have friends [who] live in Airdrie, so we came out here to stay with them while we were looking. Airdrie was small, but it had everything we needed and that was the big thing. “The setup here is so good,” she adds. “You get a little more bang for your buck and it was good for our kids. I didn’t have to worry about them riding their bikes while I was at work in Calgary.” The family chose a two-level, three-bedroom split covering more than 1,800 square feet, not far from the local school and right by the pathways – another selling feature, says Strohan, adding that she and her family enjoy walking, biking or even longboarding along the paths. Williamstown is located just west of the Veterans and Main Street shopping area, while direct road access out of the city lets Strohan avoid Highway 2. “I take the back road [24th Street] and I completely avoid any of that chaotic QEII or Yankee Valley traffic,” she says.“I’m pretty sure I save myself 10 minutes driving every day. Two traffic lights and I’m out of the city.” The family is also a fan of Genesis Place: Strohan and her daughters are particularly involved with swimming (they missed having access to the pool during its recent renovation). When she’s home, meanwhile, Strohan finds Williamstown an oasis. “It’s really quiet over here in the northwest corner,” she says, adding that there’s no such thing as shortcutting traffic in Williamstown. “If you’re up here, it’s because you live up here.” life

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Bert Church Theatre

A CELEBRATION OF AIRDRIE’S ART COMMUNITY, PRESENTING AWARDS FOR: Patron of the Arts Award • Vitreous Champion of the Arts Award • Qualico Youth Artist Award ACAD Emerging Artist Award FortisAlberta Professional Artist Award

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home life Column


Carman Thiessen, CFP

Chris Friesen, CFP

Investment and Retirement Planner 403.462.7727 carman.thiessen@rbc.com

Investment and Retirement Planner 403.807.3010 chris.friesen@rbc.com

Understanding your pension options

Financial planning services and investment advice are provided by Royal Mutual Funds Inc. a member company under RBC Wealth Management. Royal Mutual Funds Inc., RBC Asset Management Inc., Royal Bank of Canada, Royal Trust Corporation of Canada, The Royal Trust Company and Phillips, Hager & North Investment Management Ltd. are separate corporate entities which are affiliated. Royal Mutual Funds Inc. is licensed as a financial services firm in the province of Quebec. † Personal lending products and residential mortgages are provided by Royal Bank of Canada and are subject to its standard lending criteria. ® / ™ Trademark(s) of Royal Bank of Canada. RBC and Royal Bank are registered trademarks of Royal Bank of Canada. Used under license. 45808 (01/2015)


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with Kris & Andrea Sales

Prices remain stable


he leaves are changing colour, the days are getting shorter and we’re heading into the cooler months. We are reminded of and so grateful for what a great place Airdrie is to live, work and raise our family. We love what a safe and friendly place this is to call home. With real estate and home values on your mind in this economic slowdown, it’s a good time to have a look at the numbers and see how things have been doing in the first threequarters of the year. Up to the end of September, there were 1,178 sales, which is approximately 14 per cent fewer than the same period in 2014. Inventory remains quite high with just over a three-months supply at the end of September. Despite the decrease in sales and the substantial increase in listings, the average sale price has remained fairly stable with an average sale price of $380,000 at the end of August, up 4.4 per cent from the same time last year, but overall so far in 2015 up 0.6 per cent from the average of 2014. Even though these numbers aren’t like the large average price increases that Alberta is used to, and the historically slower winter months are approaching, houses are still selling quite well. Airdrie is still one of the fastest-growing communities and is holding


•Est. 2008•


UP OUR COMMUNITY up very well with the economic slowdown. We’re also seeing many homebuyers make the move to Airdrie for its proximity to Calgary, smaller-town feel and better housing affordability. Historically, real estate has been an excellent investment offering consistent returns with low risk. Regardless of the ups and downs in the market, people still need a place to live, more people continue to move to Alberta and our economy always bounces back.

“Despite the decrease in sales and the substantial increase in listings, the average sale price has remained fairly stable.” Looking ahead, it’s typical for the numbers – sales, number of listings and average sale prices – to decrease moderately with the slower cooler months. This will require home sellers to be competitive with their asking prices and make their home stand out from competing properties. Enhancing curb appeal by completing those maintenance items and taking care of needed touchups will help. So if you’re thinking about making the move to a larger place or downsizing this winter, don’t be discouraged, as now is still a great time to sell your house and find that dream home. Take advantage of the low interest rates and make the move that’s right for you. – Kris & Andrea Sales, Evolve Realty

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winter 2015/16

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hoMe life coluMn


With Kim purvis

Home for the holidays

I love Christmas. I love every-

thing about it. It’s central to my faith; there are lots of occasions to dress up and celebrate with friends and family, as well as opportunities to serve our community, bless loved ones with thoughtful treasures and decorate! My tree may have already been up for a while….

Here is my list of suggestions for decorating your home for the holidays so it feels festive and works with your year-round decor. • Find a place for your tree where it can be enjoyed from several spots in the house. It’s ideal if you have a spot where you can appreciate the tree from the kitchen, living room and dining room. It gives off such a beautiful glow! • put your tree lights and any other lit decor on timer plugs so that they come on at a predetermined time without the effort of squeezing into those tight spots behind the tree to plug in lights. • Decorate your tree and items around your house in a similar scheme to your already existing decor. This is easier than ever with all of the Christmas colour options out there. Non-traditional colour schemes are often the most striking. This year, I incorporated a lot more grey into my decor. • Combine the glittery and bright stuff with some natural decoration, such as branches and pine cones. Slices of wood are also very popular right now. A combination of glass vases of different shapes and sizes with real cranberries and candles in them makes a beautiful centrepiece. • Don’t forget to set aside time for making each of your gifts beautiful. the perfect finishing touch to a lovely tree is a handful of carefully wrapped presents for those you love. I’ve rarely purchased a single gift by the time my tree goes up (in fact, the Halloween candy is still kicking around) so I like to wrap a few empty boxes at the beginning to complete the look right away. The key to this is wrapping as you go, not on Christmas Eve, and keeping a stash of supplies handy – different rolls of ribbon, sprigs of branches and berries and lots of tape. • Most importantly, leave time to enjoy the holiday season with friends and family. Merry Christmas from my family to yours! life – Decorator Kim purvis, owner of Aurora Decor, is pursuing her lifelong passion of creating beautiful home spaces

5858 airdrielife.com airdrielife.com| | winter winter2015/16 2015/16



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Home life Showhomes

Broadview Homes

Raving about Ravenswood Pacestter Homes

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McKee Homes

Offering residents close proximity to Airdrie’s endless amenities and a short commute to Calgary, Ravenswood is a charming community offering families beautiful custom-built homes in a quiet, established community. With eight new showhomes recently open, potential homebuyers have endless possibilities to choose from. Ravenswood’s many parks, green corridors and playgrounds have been strategically placed throughout the community, creating an idyllic setting that invites residents to stroll, cycle or just relax and enjoy the open space. Major parks and external pathways in southeast Airdrie are linked to the neighbourhood through a comprehensive pathway system and with local schools, shops and services, Ravenswood checks off each box on every new homeowner’s must-have list. Check out our sneak peek of their new showhomes. NuVista Homes

Coopers Crossing featuring McKee Homes, Vesta Homes, Lifestyle Homes & Trico Homes

Bayside Pier 11 featuring Genesis Builders

Hillcrest featuring Shane Homes & Trico Homes

Canal’s Landing featuring Genesis Builders, McKee Homes, ReidBuilt Homes & Crystal Creek Homes

Brookside by Merge Developments Stonekeep by Merge Developments

builders and developers adver�sed in this issue�

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work life

meet the movers, shakers and business makers

66 Airdrie success • 68 Giving back • 72 Top-notch

Work life Column


with Kent Rupert

Jobs well done

Lorelei Talbot, Astoria Asset Management

“It’s exciting to see the optimism and success many Airdrie businesses continue to enjoy.”


very fall the Airdrie business community comes together to celebrate. The local businesses applaud the successes they have had and are recognized for the contributions they’ve made to the community. In a time when there is uncertainty with the economy and confidence levels are wavering, it’s exciting to see the optimism and success many Airdrie businesses continue to enjoy. The Airdrie Business Awards is the city’s premier awards program, recognizing local businesses that have demonstrated exceptional leadership, customer service, community involvement and innovative practices. While these awards recognize the best in our business community, I noticed something interesting in this year’s nominations: the diversity in the types of businesses that were nominated. Each year, we continue to see more and more nominations from the community and this year was no exception. What fascinates me is the variety in the types of businesses that are leading the way. We see nominees ranging from personal service firms to commercial construction contractors. This year, finalists included HairBenders, CrossFit 403, Goodmen Roofing and Budget Blinds of Airdrie, to mention just a few. Some of these businesses have been in Airdrie for several years and continue to be strong leaders; others are newer but have quickly made a large impact.

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Take this year’s Winning Edge Award winner, Astoria Asset Management. Ten years ago, owner Lorelei Talbot had a dream of starting her own business. She started out in a shared office and this year expanded to a large new office space in Airdrie with more than a dozen staff members. Like many other businesses in Airdrie, Astoria knows about the importance of diversity in its operations. The company does more than manage properties and condos; it is an important part of the Airdrie community. Astoria is involved with such groups as Airdrie Chamber of Commerce and the Creative Airdrie Society, and mentors businesses with the SMARTstart program. The company also raises money and volunteers for local charities. Astoria’s annual golf tournament has raised more than $137,000 to date for Airdrie Food Bank. On behalf of the Airdrie economic development team, I would like to congratulate all the nominees and recipients of the 2105 Airdrie Business Awards. We also congratulate the unsung heroes who model exceptional businesses practices and just haven’t been noticed yet. I encourage Airdrie residents to take the time to take note of and appreciate the diversity in the types of businesses we have here, and ensure that you support them. It takes a lot of courage and energy for entrepreneurs to start a business, nurture it and grow it to make their dream a reality. For that we need to congratulate all Airdrie business owners. life

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work life national BuSineSS

Company stands the test of time story by alEx frazEr-harrison | photo by sErgEi bElsKi


he next time you stop at a gas station in Canada, take a close look at the pump. Odds are you might see a little silver sticker indicating it has been inspected by a company based out of Airdrie. Since 1994, Cantest Solutions Inc. has focused on providing third-party inspection services for the oil and gas industry, evaluating and testing oilfield storage tanks for leaks; meanwhile, the retail petroleum services industry calls upon Cantest for leak-detection, pump calibration and other preventative maintenance at stations. “We’re the largest [company] of our kind,” special projects manager Lee Krause says, adding that Cantest has helped introduce state-of-theart equipment into the leak-detection and meter-calibration business. “The meter calibration equipment we use … the master meter prover or closed-loop electronic calibration system, we are the co-developer of it with MTI [Measurement Technology International] out of Lethbridge. They came up with the original idea and we’ve been field-testers and field experts, working with them hand-in-hand to develop software as well as … best practices and procedures.” Citing a desire to avoid conflict of interest, Krause says that Cantest does not get into the actual repair side of the work when it comes to oilfield inspections. “We’re a third-party advisor and they take it from there,” he says.“We have a lot of companies that monitor their inventory and if they see an issue they’re on the phone to us,‘We need you out here.’”

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Over the last 21 years, Cantest has expanded to include employees from Vancouver to Moncton. The biggest boost to the business – and, Krause says, the biggest revenue-generator – was when the Canadian Weights and Measures division of the federal government put in the Fair Measure for All law. “What they [mandated] was every field dispenser [i.e. gas pump] – Esso, Safeway, Co-op, etc. – has to be recertified every two years, and we’re the largest provider of certification services,” he says. Krause likens dispensers to a car engine. “Over time and the more use they have, the more they wear,” he says. “Dispensers are actually designed to give way as they wear out … in favour of the consumer. So it is in the retailer’s best interests that they are [calibrated] on a regular basis.” The difference, he says, might be a matter of pennies per transaction – but, especially with the larger gasoline providers, those pennies can add up over time. This sort of work keeps Cantest thriving, even during a period of low oil prices. “We’ve learned quite a bit over the years, a lot through practice finding issues and correcting problems as we find them,” Krause says.“Our tank and line equipment … and calibration equipment … is regarded as the best in the world. “And we have always tried to be No. 1 in safety,” he adds.“That safety aspect is something that’s becoming more stringent and we try to be at the top of our game.”

“Airdrie’s been a great place for us – the ease of access to get around the country or even having to get technology to the airport is one of the biggest things.”

Learn more about Cantest’s success WATcH AIRDRIe NoW Tv NoW AT AIRDRIeLIFe.coM

Right now, Cantest is primarily countrywide, although, Krause says, the company is always looking for opportunities to grow, sending representatives to the Petroleum Equipment Expo in Las Vegas and looking at possible European expansion. “We are always looking at international expansion as one of our next growth opportunities,” he says. But Airdrie remains home base – in fact, Cantest’s only brick-andmortar office is here. “Airdrie’s been a great place for us – the ease of access to get around the country or even having to get technology to the airport is one of the biggest things,” Krause says, noting that about 45 people work out of the Airdrie office. “We’ve got a good community here and it provides us with good employees.” life


New Didsbury location 1812 20th St 403.518.1222

winter 2015/16

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work life pay it forwarD

Businesses story by alEx frazEr-harrison photos by Kurtis Kristianson

that Care BMo Kingsview Market staff

For many Airdrie-area businesses, giving back to the community is as important as providing services and goods. Here are just a few examples of local business philanthropists.

“our livelihood depends on airdrie … and [we] care deeply about its well-being.”

Paul Gerla, WestMark Holdings

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Blue Grass Nursery, Sod & Garden Centre Although it’s actually located in Balzac, Blue Grass’s heart is in Airdrie. “We really treat Airdrie as our home,” says marketing manager Lisa Silva. “The owners’ kids go to school in Airdrie and, as much as it’s a big city, everyone knows everyone in a way.” Silva says that’s why it’s important for Blue Grass to give back to the community, “and we do that through many different organizations.” This Halloween, for example, Blue Grass hosted the AirScares haunted house in support of the Boys & Girls Club of Airdrie, letting goblins and ghouls take over unused off-season greenhouse space. The club’s Drive-In Theatre events were also hosted at the business, which is located just south of CrossIron Mills. Blue Grass holds its own Pumpkin Festival each year to raise money for Alberta Children’s Hospital (ACH), raising more than $32,000 for ACH in 2014. Besides pumpkin-carving and hayrides, Silva says, a highlight is when a 500-pound pumpkin is dropped from a crane onto a car.

“We also do lots of stuff with the Airdrie Food Bank and Airdrie Horticultural Society – we provide (the Horticultural Society) with donations and things like soil for their gardens,” says Silva. “Airdrie is an amazing city – people are so devoted to helping each other out,” she adds. “We’ve helped out in so many things, I can’t keep track anymore!” (See the Blue Grass team on page 63.) Astoria Asset Management Ltd. Managing commercial and residential properties can be stressful – on both sides of the desk – which is why Lorelei Talbot and her staff at Astoria Asset Management try to support the community as best they can. “A lot of calls that come into our office are from people [who] need some kind of assistance … there’s a need in the community,” says broker/ owner Talbot. Astoria staff members have stepped up to the plate, arranging community garage sales to raise money for diabetes research, supporting such initiatives as the Boys & Girls Club of Airdrie’s Pink Shirt Day anti-bullying program, volunteering for Culture at the Creek and taking part in Relay for Life. Astoria also sponsors an annual golf tournament that over the years has raised more than $133,000 for Airdrie Food Bank. Talbot is an active supporter of Airdrie Economic Development’s SMARTstart program. “We work with a lot of small businesses,” she says.“The amount [of support] people get out of it is unreal.” You’ll also find staff taking part in the Mayor’s Recreation for Life Run and Walk, which this year supported several athletic programs, including Special Olympics Airdrie. “We trained at Crossfit every Tuesday,” Talbot says, adding that many Astoria staff members were inspired to become more physically active as a result.“It was the most amazing team-building thing ever.”

BMO Kingsview Market Branch One great way to introduce yourself to a community is to get involved. Such is the case with BMO’s two-year-old Kingsview Market Branch. The branch hit the ground running in being a staunch supporter of community causes. “We’ve been involved in a number of golf tournaments for Rotary, the Boys & Girls Club’s AirScares, the Festival of Trees, the Health Foundation’s gala event – we’re volunteering heavily for that,” says Michelle Mobarrez, BMO’s regional vice-president of the Northern Calgary Region, as she reads from a ‘laundry list’ of causes supported by staff at BMO Kingsview. Other supported causes include the food bank, Creative Airdrie and the Airdrie Public Library (APL) author series. BMO also sponsors the Amazing Airdrie Women recognition program, Mobarrez says. “We work heavily on what’s important for our team members,” she says.“What’s important to our employees is important to us.” One highlight every year is the United Way fundraising drive. Last year, Kingsview Market, together with the Main Street BMO branch, raised more than $4,200 for the cause. “It’s our way to give back to the community,” Mobarrez says. “So many of our amazing team members live in Airdrie. One of the big parts of being in BMO is being actively engaged in the community in which you live and work.” WestMark Holdings Ltd. As an Airdrie-based developer, WestMark Holdings is already dedicated to the idea of building community. But the Gerla family, which has run the company since 1989, never wanted it to end with houses and sidewalks. “Not only is the entire business based in Airdrie … we’re deeply involved with the city, both as a company and personally as residents,” says Paul Gerla. “Our livelihood depends on Airdrie … and [we] care deeply about its well-being.” WestMark has supported Community Links, Airdrie Housing, the Alberta Summer Games, the food bank and ARTember, and helped erect the centennial sculpture in front of City Hall. WestMark also honoured an active longtime resident by championing the renaming of East Lake Athletic Park after the late Ed Eggerer. “There are a lot of great things in Airdrie,” Gerla says, adding that WestMark tries to lead by example when it comes to community support. WestMark is also a major supporter of Airdrie Public Library, donating $20,000 to allow APL to obtain the latest books and DVDs for its Popular Picks collection. “The types of things that get people through the door,” Gerla says, adding that once people visit the library, they’ll hopefully be attracted to the other services and programs offered. “We think the library is a very important aspect of the city … and I feel libraries will become even more important in the coming decade,” he says. life winter 2015/16

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work life SuperStarS



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winter 2015/16

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Work life Success


2015 Airdrie Business Awards finalists (left to right): Kari Lines, Budget Blinds; Jodie Simpson (standing behind chair), Global A.P.E. Inc.; Heather Cowie (sitting in chair), Airdrie Family Eye Doctors; Sandi Christensen, Goodmen Roofing; Rob Christensen, Goodmen Roofing; Becky Diebolt, Good Earth Coffeehouse; Bev Morros, HairBenders; Robyn Pearson (with teal scarf), A Friend Indeed; Glen Brown, Anena Indoor Air Quality Testing and Consulting; Wendy Bates-Wiebe, The Hair Lounge; Jacqui Jepson, The Pink Wand; Ron Forsyth, Goodmen Roofing; Heather Crippen, CrossFit 403; Derek Lalonde, Edward Jones; Lorelei Talbot, Astoria Asset Management

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2015 Airdrie Business Awards by Alex Frazer-Harrison



Derek Lalonde, Edward Jones Investments

Heather Crippen, CrossFit 403


wendy Bates-Wiebe, The Hair Lounge


LorELEI Talbot, Astoria Asset Management


he best and brightest of Airdrie’s small-business community were honoured at the 2015 Airdrie Business Awards in October. Derek Lalonde of Edward Jones Investments received the Airdrie Business Leader Award for his seemingly endless enthusiasm in giving back to the community and promoting the city through his business and volunteer efforts. “It’s pretty overwhelming,” Lalonde says. “There are so many great people who do a lot for promoting business and community and doing stuff for charities. It’s pretty special to be looked upon as a leader amongst them. “It feels good to be giving back into the community and seeing what your volunteerism is doing,” he adds. “I feel it rejuvenates one’s own business … you’re energized and ready to do more work.” Lorelei Talbot accepted the Winning Edge Award for Astoria Asset Management by paying tribute to her staff. “You guys persevere through things that I could never imagine,” Talbot says. “We talk about strengths in business … your strength is who you are. (My staff is) very, very strong and they inspire me every day.” After receiving the award honouring businesses demonstrating achievement in growth, customer service and innovative practices, Talbot adds: “We talk about bringing people together [in business] … this year has been about personal strengths. I am a better person because of who my staff are.” The Eco Edge Award honoured The Hair Lounge for its work in promoting environmental stewardship, including recycling chemicals, hair and even the little foil strips used for hair colouring. Hair Lounge previously won the 2014 Winning Edge and Family Friendly awards. Owner Wendy Bates-Wiebe said that her staff proves you don’t have to be a big business to reduce your footprint. Even hair clippings are recycled (for oil-spill mops), Bates-Wiebe says, estimating that The Hair Lounge has diverted some 2,000 pounds of waste. “It’s an easy transition to be more environmentally friendly and change our impact,” she says. “The amount of chemicals that go down the drain in a salon is huge, so to remove that [is significant].” The Family Friendly Award honoured CrossFit 403 for embracing family values, not only for its employees, but also its customers. “Everyone together [at CrossFit], as a family unit, we’ve all given back,” owner Heather Crippen says after receiving the award just ahead of hosting the annual CF24 fundraiser to support Special Olympics, for which CrossFit 403 has raised more than $300,000 over the years. “When families do things together, it strengthens the family bond.” life winter 2015/16

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Ad v e r t o r i a l

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older but can be seen in babies and children. Injury to the eye can cataracts and their progression is to wear good sunglasses that offer UV protection. Sunglasses that fit well, and have good coverage from light coming in from above and the sides, are best. Annual eye health examinations with your optometrist are also important for

Q. What are cataracts and how can I protect my eyes? A. A cataract is when the lens inside of a person’s eye becomes yellow. Damage from UV light rays causes the yellowing of the lens. If it becomes very dark, cataract surgery is needed to improve vision. The surgery involves removing the lens and replacing it with

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early detection and management of cataracts. – Dr. Heather Cowie, Airdrie Family Eye Doctors Q. What is a great gift idea for my girlfriends this holiday? A. Giving jewelry and accessories as a gift can make your holiday shopping quick and easy. Scarves are a wardrobe staple during the colder months and people love to receive them. Stella & Dot has a great line of engravable jewelry that allows you to personalize gifts for your mom, sister, friend or even a hard-to-buy-for co-worker. Men can work with a stylist to put together a charm necklace or bracelet to wow the ladies in their lives and present them with a wonderfully thoughtful gift. Giving jewelry as a gift this Christmas doesn’t have to take a huge bite out of your wallet!  – Krista Shewchuk, Stella & Dot

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local life

a c l o s e r l o o k at yo u r c o m m u n i t y

80 High rollers • 85 Enough is enough • 92 Community hereos

local life CitylifE


rom offering real-time route tracking to helping hundreds of Airdrians get around town – and beyond – Airdrie Transit is staying ahead of the curve. This past summer, Airdrie Transit launched a new app called Transloc that lets users find out exactly when the next bus will arrive, sending out push notifications to phones if there are any delays en route. The system works with local buses and the Intercity Express (ICE) routes. The app is just one example of how transit systems don’t need to be part of a large metro area to embrace technology, says Chris MacIsaac, transit co-ordinator with the City of Airdrie. “You no longer have to be this larger municipality that has a lot of resources,” MacIsaac says. “It’s been scaled down to the level where the Airdries of the world can implement that technology, in some cases more quickly than large municipalities.”

the ICE buses, to serve as a hub for in-city buses, and it’ll be close to the future 40th Avenue connector, MacIsaac says. “And it’s adjacent to the rail tracks,” he adds,“so if, in the future, there is a need or demand for heavy rail [transit], we have that strategic site ready and we can redevelop to meet those needs.” ICE recently reached a milestone. “We’re five years into ICE as of October, and in [those] five years we’ve effectively doubled the number of buses the City owns in the ICE fleet, and we’re doing twice as many trips as we provided in 2010,” says MacIsaac. “And we can now say we provide seven-day-a-week service to Calgary every 75 minutes.” It wasn’t always smooth sailing. “I remember on Day 1 when the [ICE] buses were pretty empty; you didn’t have a lot of people using the service that first month … now to see where we are today, it’s phenomenal growth,” MacIsaac says. (On an average day, ICE transports 300 to 400 people into Calgary.)

“We can now say we provide seven-day-a-week service to Calgary every 75 minutes.” For example, he says, within the next one to two years, mobile ticketing – where you pay using your smartphone instead of hunting for change or fishing a pass out of your wallet – could become a reality in Airdrie.“It’s based on a framework that’s already existing with QR codes, so it’s nothing new we’re creating, nor is there a huge capital investment we need to make it available to customers,” MacIsaac says. This fall saw Airdrie’s first purpose-built transit terminal open for business at the south end of Main Street, serving as a hub for local buses and the ICE routes that now number four: two direct to downtown Calgary, one to the McKnight-Westwinds CTrain station by way of CrossIron Mills, and a newly added fourth route connecting to Crossfield that was approved by city council in September. The $3.5 million South Transit Terminal includes a 150-stall ‘park ‘n’ ride’ and will be at least partly funded by the province’s Green Transit Initiatives Program (GreenTRIP) – a decision on whether the park ‘n’ ride will be covered by GreenTRIP had not yet been made at press time – with a further 100 stalls planned in a future phase. Airdrie has received $12.6 million in GreenTRIP funds which between now and 2020 will also go towards buying new buses, adding services and building a new maintenance and storage facility, MacIsaac says. The terminal’s location at Airdrie’s south end may seem a bit out of the way, but in fact it’s been placed to allow easy access to the QE II for

With Airdrie’s population approaching 59,000, according to the 2015 census, its transit service has to meet the needs of a city that’s one of the fastest-growing municipalities in the province. That’s why its first-ever transit master plan is now being formulated. “It’s a 20-year plan looking at everything from how decisions are being made to how service is being planned in new and existing communities to what resources are required to deliver transit to the community,” says MacIsaac. The intent, he adds, is to take the plan to council by next spring (following resident consultation), with potential implementation of recommendations set out in the plan as early as fall 2016. “We want to transition from just running the services as we have them today to looking forward at mobility – not only transit, but how can we improve the mobility of residents,” he says. One thing that’s not changing for Airdrie Transit in the near future is its fees, as there are no hikes planned going into 2016. MacIsaac says that part of this is due to maximizing revenue from such things as selling ads on the buses and benches – “and, in the future, bus shelters”– and the fact ICE is recovering its costs, thanks to such partners as CrossIron Mills. life FoR MoRe INFoRMATIoN about public transit in Airdrie, visit airdrie.ca

Tracking Transit story by alEx frazEr-harrison | photo by sErgEi bElsKi

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Airdrie Transit co-ordinator chris MacIsaac is excited about the launch of the city’s new Transloc app.

Fast Facts from the 2015 Airdrie Municipal Census Population: 58,690, up 6.92 per cent over 2014; the 2013 to 2014 growth rate, however, was 10.76 per cent. Most populous community: king’s Heights (4,257) The most commonly cited household income range is $80,000-$119,999 (3,628). Only 981 households reported an income of less than $39,999. There are 1,343 households exceeding $200,000 per year. In terms of most-used form of transportation, 70 per cent of Airdrians drive, 3 per cent carpool, 3 per cent walk, 2 per cent use public transit, and 1 per cent ride bicycles. Regarding work location, more people work in Calgary (12,898) than in Airdrie (1,243 own home; 8,656 elsewhere). Another 101 Airdrians actually work outside Canada. Trades, construction, transport and equipment operators and related jobs are the biggest employers of Airdrians (7,301), followed by sales and service occupations (4,985) and business/finance/administration (3,519). A total of 22,425 Airdrians over age 15 work full time, while 995 consider themselves unemployed. For more census data, visit airdrie.ca

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Balancing Act Local life Multiculturalism

story by Anne Beaty | photos by Sergei Belski

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George Heng and Geraldine Sng

Couple finds change of pace


ingaporean George Heng laughs when asked to say something in Chinese. “Most of us (Singaporeans) don’t speak Mandarin,” says Heng. “We’re in Chinese restaurants ordering by the number … like everyone else.” Fifteen years ago, Heng and his wife, Geraldine Sng, moved to Canada from Singapore, a highly cosmopolitan city-state off of southern Malaysia. The Republic of Singapore, which gained its independence in 1965, has four official languages: English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil. “It’s a whole melting pot … of influences,” Heng says. While he grew up speaking Malay, Heng did also learn some Mandarin at home, as well as English.“Growing up, my dad always had the BBC on,” he says, adding that Singapore’s colonial heritage (it was colonized by the British) gives it a connection to Canada. “We have a shared history with Canada … we are a Commonwealth country,” Heng says, adding that Singaporeans also sang God Save the Queen at various events. Other memories from his childhood are similar to those of any Canadian youngster. “We had comic books; we had hot dogs,” he says with a smile. There the similarity ends, though.“Singapore is very, very small and it’s very congested,” Heng says of the nation, which boasts a population of around 5.5 million in a land area smaller than the city of Calgary. And while Singapore is part of southeast Asia, Singaporeans have a very different cuisine from, for example, their mainland Chinese neighbours. With its European, Arabic, Middle Eastern and Chinese influences and spices, Singapore’s cuisine covers a wide range of flavours.“We love curry; we like spicy food,” Heng says. For Heng and Sng, the pace of life in Singapore was extremely hectic – 80-hour weeks were not unusual – and so they began to think of retirement. They were looking for a place to slow down and relax; somewhere

that offered a high standard of living and a better quality of life. Heng had done his undergraduate work at the University of Calgary and still had friends here – “I came and never quite left,” he says – so in 2001 the couple decided to make the big move, settling first in Calgary and then coming to Airdrie five years ago. “Canada gave us that balance that we needed,” Sng says. Adds Heng:“It boiled down to quality of life.” The decision to leave family and move halfway around the world was not an easy one. “It was a difficult move,” Sng says. However, she adds, it was something she and her husband do not regret. “We just needed a change of pace,” she says. Their plans to slow down have been somewhat put on hold, though. Currently Heng, who went on to earn a master’s degree from the U of C’s Centre for Military and Strategic Studies, is the IT expert at Airdrie Public Library and Sng works as an administrator with Samaritan’s Purse (she also works as a cake decorator, floral designer, chef and event planner). For the couple, their native country is never far from their hearts. Their home is decorated with art that has personal meaning: tiles from a Singaporean home that was being demolished; a wooden screen/ door from their first apartment in Singapore – and chef Sng enjoys the fact that Calgary has lots of sources of ethnic food supplies (although she still brings some of her own special spices back when she visits family in Singapore). Overall, though, Sng and Heng are very much at home here. “I don’t really miss Singapore,” says Heng. life

More life online Check out Geraldine Sng’s recipe for Kuih Seri Muka or Kuih Salat (pictured above right) at airdrielife.com winter 2015/16

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local life sports

re, but the up the night befo ed pp ra w d ha are on he seas on track in Airdrie ng ci ra X M B ep folks who ke next morning ight and early the br rk Pa er ch et Fl y for the back at prepare the facilit to – ng ni or m – a Saturday strive to winter break. Northwood says am C t en id es pr keep Airdrie eers, who new e working hard to The many volunt ar n, tio za ni ga or e osphere to th bring a family atm g. has become a continually growin o, the BMX club BMX healthy and ag s ar ye y an m ily ovincial ls fam nals and several pr tio Started by the Coo na e th ed st ho e maple leaf in sports scene. It’s who have worn th gem on the city’s es et hl at y an m ed has produc competitions and ork and excelpetition. ipation and teamw international com ic rt pa of re ltu cu a taining veloped k on fortifying a re or w “They’ve really de rs ee nt lu vo as as no agenda ys Northwood, r families. There w ling at the sport,” sa he ot e th lp he to e was ther wall. “Every family ildren have been for anybody. ood, whose two ch w th or N ds ad ” e, elcom “Everybody feels w n youngsters e past six years. ia in the 1970s whe BMX riding for th rn ifo al C in ed at in rt. It grew X orig g their bikes on di in The sport of BM rid d te ar st y pl motocross sim hen it made its who couldn’t afford d really took off w an t or sp d ze ni ga t group of me an or was part of the firs ls oo from there to beco C a th an m Sa 2008. Airdrie’s ed seventh. Most Olympic debut in ar, where she finish ye at th , na hi C g, 2015 Pan in Beijin r competed at the re he BMX Olympians sc ch Tu na ai Brown and D recently locals Jim ed riders, nto in July. e than 200 register or m Am Games in Toro d te ac tr at b come Airdrie clu rding to the club’s co ac , ar This past season th ye us io ev per cent from the pr a jump of about 20 e Carson. at. ting director, Shan ke ar m d quite proud of th an e n ar io e at w le op munic pe ] lation; our roximately 59,000 n with their popu “For a city of [app to on dm E d an ry clubs in Calga Compare that to ,” Carson says. s, looking er than those clubs attract young rider to club [is] quite larg ys da e es th rd ble working ha e it became noticea us ca be The club’s board is ps ou gr e ag s Facebook rs in the younger e decline. The club’ th to increase numbe on e er w rs be hies ago that num es showing off trop bi w ne d ol two to three years rea -y ve oto of four of its fi page displayed a ph

On the right track with Airdrie BMX by JEff maCKinnon | photo by barnEy broWn

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from the Sept. 16 season finale that were several inches taller than them. “We’ve put a real big push on the five-, six-, seven-year-old category,” Carson says.“This year our coaching programs really took off, especially [in] the recreation and novice programs – really teaching the fundamentals.” With a new board taking over in 2015, the club opted not to host an Alberta BMX event, but Carson says that the plan is to do so again in the future once everyone gets settled into their roles. The club is also interested in hosting the Canadian BMX championships, which were held in Airdrie in 2010 and will be coming to the area again in 2016 when the Calgary BMX Racing Association hosts the national championships Sept. 2-5. There’s no doubt a thriving BMX club is a financial windfall for the city when the competitive season runs from early May to late September. “At the end of the season we had four consecutive races where we had more than 100 riders and a lot of those riders were coming from Calgary, Cochrane and even Okotoks,” Northwood says. “What it does for the economy is people are coming out and spending money here, they are eating dinner here. When we host a provincial race you’re looking at 400-plus riders .... they bring their family and that’s two to three extra people staying at hotels and eating in our restaurants.” life To LeARN MoRe about the club and 2016 registration, visit airdriebmx.com or e-mail info@airdriebmx.com winter 2015/16

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Local life Causes

Food Drive Airdrie M e a ls on W h eel s 82 airdrielife.com


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story by Ellen Kelly | photo by Sergei Belski

I thank the Lord for the knock at the door It brings me food, but so much more. A smiling face, a voice of concern How are you today? Can I help in any way? As a volunteer, that is our creed To give from the heart to those in need.


The Airdrie Meals on Wheels board of directors (left to right) Trudy Eyre, Beth Dilts, Ron West, Sharon Rode, Jan Stevens, Lola Gilchrist, Barb Pike and Don Pike

– The Volunteer by Barb Pike, Meals on Wheels volunteer

irdrie Meals on Wheels Society, now in its 32nd year of service, provides nutritious meals to seniors, people with disabilities, people recovering from surgery and those who can’t cook for themselves. The non-profit organization is proud to be Airdrie’s only 100 per cent volunteer-run organization. Governed by a board of directors (and not affiliated with Airdrie Food Bank), Meals on Wheels is staffed by approximately 30 volunteers who work from a monthly schedule to meet the needs of 15 to 20 clients amounting to between 200 and 250 meals per month. Between January and the end of August this year, 1,859 meals were delivered in the community. “We have drivers with trucks so we’ve never missed a day, even if there is a really bad storm,” says Trudy Eyre, Meals on Wheels public relations officer. Clients receive lunch (soup and sandwich) and supper (entrée, salad and dessert) for $6. Delicious meals, which are prepared at Cedarwood Station, are delivered Monday to Friday (Saturday, Sunday and holiday meals can be ordered in advance and are delivered on Friday.) Diabetic meals and allergies can be accommodated.“We work with the kitchen. The kitchen associates the meal with the individual,” says organization vice-president Ron West. Clients are referred by a family member, home care and some doctors’ offices. An individual can also call on his or her own behalf, and long- and short-term services are available. The program is funded by the City of Airdrie and the generosity of private and corporate donations. “Our AGM is coming up in February,” says West,“and we’re always looking for new board members.” New volunteer drivers are also welcome. About two hours – from the time the volunteer leaves home, picks up and delivers the meals and returns to Cedarwood Station with the empty containers – would be an average commitment, with some volunteers driving more than once a week. Each driver delivers up to nine meals a day. The number of drivers varies depending on the number of meals being delivered. New volunteers are interviewed and then trained by an experienced driver. The society has no office space but communicates via e-mail and monthly meetings at Nose Creek Valley Museum. Monthly schedules are filled out via e-mail. Expenses are minimal – a cell phone, a website and a mailbox.“We have no overhead. We don’t even have furniture,” West says. Low costs and some fundraising help to subsidize the meals. Besides delivering meals, volunteers are concerned for the well-being of their clients.“We have a contact number for each client,” says West.“If things don’t seem right, we follow up on that. “It’s not just delivering meals; it’s looking out for the individual, too, because we might be the only person they see for days,” he adds. West sees the people with whom he works as one big family.“It’s a responsibility to help your neighbour,” he says.“That’s what makes our society.” Eyre adds:“The Airdrie community is one family. I get great satisfaction out of helping people.” life For more information on Airdrie Meals on Wheels, visit airdriemealsonwheels.ca or call 403-815-1400. winter 2015/16

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Local life athlete profile

Elite story by Jeff MacKinnon | photo by Sergei Belski

on Ice Keely Brown rocks the rink to be honoured as one of Airdrie’s Elite Athletes

“It was volunteers who taught me how to curl, so I wanted to give back to the sport and help out kids, because I know that’s how I started.”

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hen the biggest moment of Keely Brown’s young sporting life arrived it was met with stunned silence for a few moments. While Brown, at third, and her skip, Kelsey Rocque, were contemplating what to do with their final rock, South Korean skip Kim Kyeong-ae missed on her final attempt. It meant Canada’s junior women’s curling champs wouldn’t have to throw again and had earned the 2014 World Juniors title with a 6-4 win in Flims, Switzerland. “All of us kind of stood there and were in kind of shock – was it actually over and did we actually win?” she recalls. “There was probably 30 seconds where nobody did anything. We just stood around until we finally realized we could shake hands and celebrate.” That win brought a world curling title to the Airdrie Curling Club, where, Brown proudly tells people, she learned to play the game, first visiting as a child to watch her mom Ronda and dad Joe curl on Sunday mornings. Now 22, Brown aged out of the junior curling ranks after that season and returned to her nursing studies at the University of Edmonton, which took a back seat during Brown’s Edmonton-based team’s amazing run to an Alberta title, then the Canadian championship and finally a world crown. She anticipates graduating in either late 2016 or spring 2017 and because she’s got her nose back in the books seriously, Brown is taking a break from competitive curling in 2015-16. In December 2014, the City of Airdrie named Brown an Elite Airdrie Athlete and on May 7, 2015, unveiled a plaque at Genesis Place celebrating the honour. “Every time I walk by it I have a look at myself on the wall and it’s really cool,” she says. The award was not only for Brown’s curling achievements but also her efforts in the city as a volunteer. Despite her age, she already has an impressive volunteer resumé, largely from her high school days: Airdrie Food Bank, Airdrie Festival of Lights, helping the Calgary Youth Curling Association and coaching at a summer junior curling camp in Leduc. The inspiration for getting involved was Joe, who was always on the ice helping out when his daughter was first starting out in the sport, which occurred at the age of five. “I know it was volunteers who taught me how to curl, so I wanted to give back to the sport and help out kids, because I know that’s how I started,” Brown says. life

local life anti-bullying Anti-bullying proponent Sarah Hissett wants daughters elleeza (left) and Adylee to stand up and use their voices to stop bullying.

From a bylaw to pink shirts, Airdrie special interest groups and concerned citizens are working to keep Airdrie safe.

story by alEx frazEr-harrison | photo by sErgEi bElsKi

Standing up to Bullying


hey say we live in a much more diverse culture these days. Unfortunately, bullying has become just as diverse. While traditional schoolyard bullying still goes on, we’re also seeing bullies in cyberspace, on the playing fields, even in the office. Const. Jason Curtis and Const. Morley Statchuk are community resource officers with Airdrie’s RCMP detachment. Much of their work involves going into schools (Curtis focuses on elementary schools, Statchuk on high schools), educating youngsters about bullying, and where to turn if they experience it. “The definition of bullying is a very evolving term,” says Curtis.“Our generation didn’t have a lot of the circumstances that are present now. As youths, [for us] bullying used to be when you were walking home from school and a local bully would chase you down and take your lunch money. Now, we’re in the authority role and having to deal with different types of bullying.” And attitudes towards bullying have changed, Curtis adds. “My parents always told me to toughen up and fight my battles … I don’t think we do that with this generation,” he says. Cyberbullying – “keyboard courage,” Curtis calls it – is the new kid on the block. “Bullies back in our day had some personal risk attached – if they were going to beat up somebody, there was the risk they’d pick the kid who’d taken judo,” he says.“Now any youth or person in an office can sit behind a keyboard and be free of personal injury – or even guilt

– because they don’t have to see the look of pain on the person’s face.” Curtis and Statchuk focus on education, on letting the younger generation know that police aren’t to be feared, while also teaching the children about healthy decision-making. The Airdrie Bullying Awareness Program, formed in 2013, also exists to raise awareness that bullying has an impact on not only young people, but adults, too.“I have two daughters … I want my girls to stand up and use their voices like I never did,” says Sarah Hissett, vice-president, secretary and treasurer for the group that includes Alderman Darrell Belyk as a member-at-large. “I still remember friends of mine being bullied and not saying anything about it or doing anything. I want my girls to stand up and know it’s not right.” The Airdrie Bullying Awareness Program is “about education and discussion and opening up communication lines,” Hissett says, adding that the program hosts guest speakers every other month at the Good Earth Coffeehouse to address the issue of bullying and generate discussion. While childhood and teen bullying is well-known, as is cyberbullying, the program also strives to raise awareness that bullying crosses all levels of society, Hissett says.“The workplace is a forgotten segment, as well as seniors – where do seniors get help for bullying?” she says. People who are perceived as different by others often bear the brunt of bullying, whether it’s because of race, physical looks, religion, or sexual orientation and gender identity. And it can be hard to know where to turn. winter 2015/16

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Local life anti-bullying

“It’s certainly not gone away,” says Kayla Jessen, president of the Airdrie Pride Society. “The society is about raising awareness and promoting equality. We don’t do any direct anti-bullying initiatives, but we’re happy to support any program.” The key is the society can refer lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) individuals – including those who may be experiencing bullying – to support and resources, Jessen says. The Boys & Girls Club of Airdrie focuses a lot of its anti-bullying programming on preparing young people to deal with bullying. “And we put a spin on it – positive relationship-building,” says Cassandra Clem, director of programs and services for the local organization. “It’s about recognizing when relationships are a bit more toxic.” In partnership with Community Links and the Red Cross, and with a grant from the City of Airdrie, club staff have been trained through a program called Beyond the Hurt. “Our staff facilitates this program in the schools and on a community basis within the club,” says Clem. “It’s got the focus that … in an ideal world you would stop bullying, but in real life how do you handle it? We take a preventative spin, an intervention spin. It gives [young people] self-awareness and identifies their strengths … so they can handle a bully positively and come out feeling good about themselves.” The club also hosts Pink Shirt Day every February, an anti-bullying-awareness campaign inspired by a boy in Nova Scotia who was bullied for wearing a pink shirt. “Our program encompasses so many different pieces … there are so many ways for [bullying] to happen,” says Clem. “At the end of the day, kids need coping strategies to deal with it and have that self-esteem.”

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RCMP constables Morley Statchuk (left) and Jason Curtis work with Airdrie’s youth as community resource officers.

In September 2013, city council amended Airdrie’s Public Behaviour Bylaw to add an anti-bullying provision. The bylaw defines bullying as “repeated and hostile or demeaning behaviour by an individual … either directly or through any medium whatsoever, where the behaviour results in harm, fear or distress to one or more individuals in the municipality including, but not limited to, physical harm, psychological harm or harm to an individual’s reputation.” The bylaw prohibits bullying anyone in a public place. The penalty is a $500 fine for a first offence, although this drops to $125 if the offender completes an anti-bullying program. The fine, however, jumps to $1,000 for repeat offences. Mayor Peter Brown, who signed the bylaw after bringing it to council in 2011, admits it’s a tough thing to enforce because, as he says, there are different levels of bullying at different age groups. Rather, Brown says, the bylaw is more intended to send a message “from the hockey coaches to the mayor’s office to business leaders in Airdrie that we don’t tolerate bullying.” He says programs such as those run by the RCMP are helping get that message across. “If we can get more information out and educate people about it, so [they] understand the significance of [bullying], and how it’s affecting people of all ages – not just youth, but seniors and everyone in the middle – I’m very passionate about it that, hopefully, there’ll be a day when we don’t have this type of bylaw,” Brown says. life

For more information about the Airdrie Bullying Awareness Program, visit airdriebullyingawarenessprogram.ca or Facebook. For Boys & Girls Club programming info, visit bgcairdrie.com or call 403-948-3331.

Support is key

by Alex Frazer-Harrison

Three years ago, bullying nearly drove Mackenzie Murphy to suicide. Today, the 16-year-old, recently crowned Miss Teenage Airdrie 2015 and Miss Teen Alberta American Beauty 2016, is finding new ways to spread awareness. “It’s made me realize how much more we can do – there’s always the case you can do more,” says Murphy, who spoke on bullying at this year’s WE Day event at the Scotiabank Saddledome and is credited with prompting the City of Airdrie to pass its anti-bullying bylaw. “It’s a team effort – it takes a village to raise a child, as they say. I think there’s so much more we can do, but ‘What?’ is a giant question.” Murphy agrees that the definition of bullying is a moving target. “Everyone looks at it differently,” she says. “I say it’s a repetitive act that damages your self-esteem, your reputation, your mental health. The solution I find is support … [support] for the victim and for the person doing the abuse. We need to stop that cycle, not just put a bandage on it.”

Local life Column


with Ellen Kelly

Kindness makes a difference


recent post on Facebook profiles five boys who befriended a challenged student. It was a good story – the boys were kind and a fine friendship developed. The challenged student’s life was improved as were the lives of his five friends. The story isn’t unusual though. Bullying is common but little acts of kindness lurk in the shadows. Students with disabilities are easy targets but there are also kind kids, mature beyond their years, who step in and make everybody’s life richer. And they grow up into kind, compassionate adults.

In high school, one of our challenged students wanted a bag of chips from the food dispensing machine. She put in her money but the chips, which were to be her lunch, got stuck. A popular senior stepped in, put his money in the machine, hit the chips button and out came two bags of chips. He handed one to our student and opened the other.“You didn’t really want chips, did you?” I asked.“Chips are OK,” he said, and off he went to join his friends. Thank you, handsome young man. You made a difference. I remember too many incidents like this to mention. There were students who helped on cooking day; students who dropped in to read or help with academics, in-school work experience projects or craft projects.

“Bullying is common but little acts of kindness lurk in the shadows.” Years ago, I worked with a mentally challenged young man. During the winter, the Grade 4 and Grade 5 classes went skating at the local arena several times. He didn’t know how to skate and didn’t want to go, but after some head banging and hair pulling (ours, not his) off he went, head bent, skates dragging. Like magic, a little Grade 4 girl fell in step. She asked him if she could carry his skates.“Come on,” she said,“I’ll help you.” Every skating day she carried his skates, skated with him and they had fun. Thank you, little girl. You made a difference.

Some came and shared their lunch hours with our students. They came because they were nice people. And they made a difference. The interesting thing is, none of these students were the school’s celebrated stars. They didn’t win academic, athletic or citizenship awards. But they were confident, compassionate and great company. They are still nice people, all grown up and raising another generation of kind and helpful little people. These silent guardians are the ones who really make a difference. life winter 2015/16

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Local life paying it forward

Mustangs ride George Mac’s annual fundraiser continues to roll

Trey Elkins has been there since the very beginning, when the Ride of the Mustangs first kicked off. At the time (2009) Elkins was in remission from cancer, and he had a strong message for event organizers and participants:“It could be worse.” Speaking to the school in a special assembly when George McDougall High School announced to the student body that the Ride of the Mustangs was set to roll, Elkins talked of his own journey and how his positive philosophy helped him carry on. “I spoke about my story in front of the school to inspire all the students to get involved,” he says, adding that he also used the stories of fellow cancer sufferers Mike Mao and Mac Smiley as inspiration. With his involvement, Elkins became somewhat of a mascot for the fundraiser. “Kids knew who I was. I went around and chatted with everyone – high fives, stuff like that,” says Elkins, who is now an ambassador for the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation. Elkins and all the others involved that first year helped the fundraising event earn a staggering $40,000. Building on that auspicious beginning, the Mustangs are again gearing up for the annual Ride of the Mustangs, now in its sixth year, which is set to run April 6-8. – Be sure to read all about the Ride of the Mustangs in the spring issue of airdrielife

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Trey’s Turn Cancer-free for five years, Trey Elkins, now 22, is using his invaluable time to give back story and photo by Olivia Condon


s if beating bone cancer and then lung cancer before his 18th birthday wasn’t enough, Airdrie’s own Trey Elkins is now saving lives … literally. “I think subconsciously I chose to be a paramedic because I love the hospital but my time as a patient at the ACH (Alberta Children’s Hospital) made me want the freedom to come and go as I please,” Elkins says. Since his cancer was first diagnosed in 2009 when he was 15, Elkins has fought for his life on multiple occasions. After the original diagnosis of osteosarcoma (the most common form of bone cancer, found predominantly in children and young adults), Elkins had a sixmonth remission, but then received more devastating news – he had relapsed and the cancer had moved to his lungs. His 50 per cent survival rate over the next five years dropped to 30 per cent. Surgery was performed to remove the cancerous tissue from his lungs, but he was warned that this type of cancer takes on a pattern and would likely return despite surgery and chemotherapy. “But then one year went by, then two years went by, and my five-year anniversary was this past January. We had a big party!” Elkins says. Now, having finished SAIT’s emergency medical technology (EMT) program, Elkins is a registered paramedic. This fall he went back to SAIT to specialize in critical care. “Critical care guys work on STARS, they work downtown Cal-

gary where it gets messy and they work in remote areas. They are the highest-trained guys out there,” Elkins says.“I realized that I wanted to do more than be on an ambulance, I wanted to be a frontline worker and I think these next two years are going to help me do just that.” In the last five years, Elkins has been a huge voice for the Children’s Hospital Foundation (CHF) and earlier this year he became an official ambassador for the foundation, speaking at events and to individuals about his experiences with cancer and how he persevered. “Whether I’m speaking with a kid [who] is down on himself about losing his hair in the hospital or whether I’m visiting my cousin who has broken up with her boyfriend, I always tell people that there is always someone who is in a worse situation than you are. There is always somebody [who] is worse off,” he says. Elkins credits these interactions with providing his articulate communication skills – skills, he says, which have helped him save lives. “There was one call recently where there was a [young] suicidal girl. I was able to talk with her and find out that she had an interest in medicine,” he said. “When we dropped her off I went up to the attending physician in the ER and said this girl is interested in being a cardiologist when she is older … why don’t we set her up so she can shadow a cardiologist for the day? “When we first met with this girl she was completely shut down,” he adds,“and I was able to get her to open. That’s what I really love and cherish about my job.” life

“I … tell people that there is always someone who is in a worse situation than you are. There is always somebody [who] is worse off.” winter 2015/16

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Local life helping hands

Kristy Reimer photo

“Volunteering is not only good for the soul; it helps you become entrenched as a member of the community … that’s where you form lifelong friendships and bonds.”

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Marie Lauer


winter 2015/16

Vive la volunteers! By Alex Frazer-Harrison

The Soul of Airdrie and our 2015 City of Airdrie Volunteers


hey say volunteering is good for the soul – and the recipients of the 2015 Volunteer of the Year Awards most likely agree. Presented by the City of Airdrie, the awards honour residents who go above and beyond the call of duty to help local organizations and causes. Marie Lauer received the Soul of Airdrie Award for her more than 20 years volunteering for everything from the Festival of Lights and Airdrie Food Bank to the 2014 Alberta Summer Games and the Airdrie Chamber of Commerce (where her day job is events co-ordinator). “You just make time for things that are important to you,” says Lauer, who became an avid volunteer after high school. “Volunteering is not only good for the soul; it helps you become entrenched as a member of the community … that’s where you form lifelong friendships and bonds.” The Leader of Tomorrow Award went to Breanne McPhee who teaches Sunday school, volunteers for peer support and leadership programs at her school, and also works with Stephen’s Backpack Society and organizes Speak Out forums. “Any time we can get young people to step up and be part of the volunteer world … we know we’re growing volunteers from a young age,” says Kim

Harris, community developer with the City of Airdrie. Hosting such a major event as the 2014 Alberta Summer Games required an enormous organizational effort; the Games’ board of directors collectively received the Volunteer Advocate Award for helping bring together some 2,500 volunteers to make the event work. Finally, the Ambassador Award was given to Elaine McKee Doel, president of McKee Homes, whose company is an avid supporter of local causes. Harris describes McKee Doel as a “community builder” in both senses of the word. “The non-literal part is advocating for the city of Airdrie and really inviting people to move here and live here … people have the desire to stay and live here because they meet people like Elaine right off the bat,” says Harris. Clay Aragon, team leader for Airdrie community development and social planning, says that volunteerism in the city has evolved. “[Today] more younger families want to involve their entire families in the volunteer activity,” Aragon says. Adds Harris: “This city has such a vast amount of volunteers [who] have such diverse interests and are able to get a lot of things done. That creates vibrancy. As we continue to grow, demand for volunteers will continue to grow – right down to the moms helping at playschool.” life

Breanne McPhee

Elaine McKee Doel

winter 2015/16

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Local life feature

Heroes & Heroines story by Carl Patzel | photos by Carl Patzel and Kristy Reimer

Each winter, airdrielife likes to focus on people in the community who are going above and beyond. From the simplest gesture to the grandest of donations, meet some of Airdrie’s everyday heroes. 92 airdrielife.com


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Matt and Michelle Carre Pinning wings on a few shoulders, Matt and Michelle Carre have been helping to lift disheartened spirits since 2013. Targeting locals who have been negatively affected by various lifechanging events, the philanthropic couple dreamed up the Airdrie Angel program. The Carres’ Angel initiative has offered spiritual, emotional and financial support to several locals, from those diagnosed with debilitating disease to single mothers escaping abusive relationships. “The whole program is about helping people who struggle at no fault of their own,” says Matt.“We are fortunate people – we have two healthy kids, we’re financially stable – but I know there are a lot of people out there who struggle.” The good-hearted couple recognized the challenges unexpected hardship can place on every aspect of life, not only on the pocketbook but on emotional stability and mental health, as well. “Sometimes there’s not financial needs,” Matt says, “but sometimes you just need to know that someone cares about you to keep going and doing the right things.” For more information on the program, visit airdrieangel.ca winter 2015/16

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local life fEaturE

Heather Cowie With an insight for promoting eye care in developing countries, Dr. Heather Cowie, owner/doctor at Airdrie Family Eye Doctors, has volunteered her services for more than a decade in such countries as Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico and Nicaragua. With a clear passion for her field of expertise, Cowie leads eye care teams and donation initiatives for underprivileged and impoverished people. “I just stumbled upon volunteering in Guatemala and that was really my basis of wanting to become an eye doctor,” says the founder of Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity.“There’s nothing more spectacular than putting a pair of glasses on somebody for the first time who has never seen before.” Covering everything from basic visual acuity to systemic disease to supplying medication, the eye care aid worker sees all ages from school children to the elderly, and Guatemala’s female family providers struggling to weave tapestries. “These are people who will sometimes have been walking for hours to see us,” says the doctor.“There’s nothing else like it. “You feel very fortunate to be in that position to give back in such a way,” Cowie adds.

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Shelly Loree Ty Harbour Last Christmas, Ty Harbour found the best gift of all: giving. While most children were making a Christmas list of what presents they wanted to see under the tree, this big-hearted youngster was stuffing stockings full of warmth and cheer for Airdrie seniors. “When I give these stockings to them it just fills me with warmness and strength,” says Harbour, who used donations and his own birthday money to create 24 care-package stockings for residents of Cedarwood Station. “Sometimes if you give something you get a warm feeling. This is nice, and I kind of want to do it over and over again,” he adds. The Ralph McCall school student was inspired by his 95-year-old grandmother to hand out bags of ornaments, stuffed animals, tea-filled mugs, candy canes and other seasonal treats. “We just wanted to make sure that the seniors can feel welcomed into the community and not left out,” Harbour says. As for being in airdrielife this yuletide season, the young man, who was looking forward to his 11th birthday at interview time, was excited about people reading about his Ty’s Stockings for Seniors initiative and wanted everyone to know that all his birthday money (and any donations he receives) is going toward the seniors. “I hope that I can do 50 stockings again, and I want to put names on them if I can so I can make them more personal,” he says. “I also want to put together 25 gift packs with the items seniors really need the most, like toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, tissues and maybe a candy or two.”

Dogs may be man’s best friend, but Shelly Loree is putting a little twist on that saying and may just be a dog’s best friend. As the Western Canada transport co-ordinator for Pilots N Paws Canada and the Alberta Sheltie Rescue (ASR) co-ordinator, Loree has been successfully partnering homeless dogs with families for many, many years. Through both organizations, she has been rescuing more than 40 dogs per year across Canada. “Some dogs have been very mistreated, some have been bred and bred and were puppy mill dogs. Others are just simply dogs that need to be re-homed because something unfortunate has happened in the family,” says Loree, who has fostered more than 40 shelties while running ASR out of her home. The Shetland breed holds a special place in her home and her heart. “Oh, they certainly do,” says Loree, who is a converted cat person.“We just fell in love with the breed. It’s been a fabulous journey. It’s a passion.”

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local life fEaturE

Stephen McPhee Stephen McPhee speaks softly but carries a generous backpack. Receiving many accolades, including the Canadian Living Me to We Award – Youth In Action honour, the 14-year old is a strong activist for the homeless in Alberta and across Canada. “I get to help kids in need. (They feel) that there’s hope in the world for them. Every time I go down there they always get excited and revved up,” says the George McDougall High School student. The founding force behind Stephen’s Backpacks Society for Children in Need (Delivering Hope. Changing Hearts.), the teen began his quest to help other children in 2006 with a small-donation backpack campaign. In the past nine years, the number of Christmas backpacks, filled with toys, books, clothes, candies and other items, has climbed to more than 31,000. And with the publication of books Dream Out Loud and On Eagles’ Wings, a Footprints shoe donation project and other missions, the Stephen’s Backpacks Society has even helped transition families out of shelters. “I could probably end just like them if I wasn’t adopted and grew up in a home [where] we were taught to help others,” says McPhee.“It’s not just Canada, I want to end world homelessness.”

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Hugh and Loreen Hamilton A touch of legacy and a big handful of generosity, Hugh Hamilton and family have left their mark on Airdrie’s health community. The longtime resident and businessman this fall announced a donation of a 10-acre plot of land to Airdrie Health Foundation (AHF), which is aiming for construction of a much-needed 24-hour health facility. Owner of Airdrie Registry, Hamilton points the philanthropist finger at wife Loreen, who first suggested the estimated $1 million land donation. “We call my wife (Loreen) ... the ‘Iron Lady.’ Throughout our lifetime we don’t dispute what she recommends,” says Hamilton, who received a resounding agreement from their sons. “Our five sons … we don’t do anything without their approval and every one of them said, ‘What a great legacy,’” he adds. Once the family matriarch suggested the bequest, the Hamiltons never looked back. Originally purchased in 1978, the commercial property – located in the city’s northeast near Hamilton Boulevard – was a gift not only to AHF but the whole community of Airdrie. “It’s just a wonderful feeling,” says Hamilton. “The people of Airdrie have really patronized any business I’ve been in. We’ve had our ups and downs just like anybody else, but when we’ve been down there’s always been somebody around to help us up.”

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local life fEaturE

Jack Hilton Jack Hilton chuckles and turns his head in a move of hesitant denial when being called a local hero. Despite that, the sharp-asa-tack 96-year-old veteran has earned a lifetime of accolades for his heroic actions during the Second World War, including the French Legion of Honour Medal for his service on D-Day and 100 flying missions. Hilton recently decided to tell his story of signing up in 1939 at age 19, becoming a fighter pilot and watching many comrades fall in battle. “I was young and stubborn, partly Irish, and I wanted to have control of my destiny as much as I could,” says Hilton, as he clutches a copy of his autobiography, The Saga of a Canadian Typhoon Fighter Pilot. “It was the times, the momentum, the excitement; all these things for a 19-year-old.” More than 100 missions later with the RCAF 438 Fighter Squadron – including flying over Normandy on D-Day, many runs over occupied France in the heavyweight Typhoon and diving on Japanese submarines – Hilton returned to Calgary in 1945. But not before crashing four times and losing 20 pilots of the 28-man squadron. “I’m fortunate – I have a fourleaf clover on my shoulder,” says Hilton, who never pondered the mission outcome. “We crashed into France after getting shot down – when your engine is on fire you know damn well there’s something wrong – but you go on operations the next day. You never thought about it – youth is young and stupid.” life

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WINTER 2015/16





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Profile for airdrielife magazine

airdrielife winter 2015  

The hero issue! Read about the awesome people that are making Airdrie an even better place to call home.

airdrielife winter 2015  

The hero issue! Read about the awesome people that are making Airdrie an even better place to call home.